Brazil launches economic reforms with privatizations


Brasília (AFP)

Brazil announced a series of auctions and tenders Tuesday aimed at privatizing infrastructure -- part of new President Michel Temer's plans to revive the moribund economy.

Under the new program, four airports will be put on the auction block this year, along with two port terminals. Tenders in the transport and mining sectors will also be up for grabs, for a total of 25 projects in all.

"This program is naturally aimed above all at the country's economic growth. But as a natural side-effect it will also create jobs," Temer said in a speech in Brasilia.

"The state cannot do it all."

The center-right president was sworn in on August 31 to serve out the rest of predecessor Dilma Rousseff's term, after she was removed from office on charges of illegally manipulating the government's accounts.

The impeachment drama ended 13 years of leftist rule in Brazil amid the worst recession in 80 years.

Temer, the former vice president, is promising to get things back on track for the Latin American giant with pension and labor reforms, lower budget deficits, and a smaller role for government in the economy.

The privatization plan is a key part of his push for a smaller state and should also bring in much-needed cash.

Four airports will be sold to private owners: in Porto Alegre, Florianopolis, Salvador and Fortaleza.

The fuel terminal at the Santarem port and wheat terminal in Rio de Janeiro will also go under the gavel.

Concessions for oil and gas fields whose profits are sagging will also be up for grabs.

The state is also looking to privatize six electricity suppliers.