São Paulo, August 5 (EFE): Brazil’s House of Representatives on Thursday approved a bill allowing the privatization of the postal company, which is mainly responsible for deliveries in the South American country.
The approval, by 286 votes to 173 against, authorizes the state company to be sold to a private initiative through auction and represents a victory for President Jair Bolsonaro’s government.
The privatization of the Brazilian Post and Telegraph is on a list of 115 assets to be sold or offered in concession by the Ministry of Economy, which estimates that handing these state-owned companies into private hands could generate investments of up to R$367,000 million. ($70,442 million).
The proposal authorizing the exploitation of all postal services on a private initiative was sent by the government to the House of Representatives last February and now depends on the approval of the Senate, as well as the presidential sanction.
The privatization of Correos and other important state-owned companies, such as the electricity company Eletrobras, is part of an ambitious privatization and concession agenda promoted by Bolsonaro’s economic team, through which it hopes to reduce the size of the state.
With congressional approval, the government plans to conduct the post office auction in the first half of 2022.
To justify the sale of the company, which has nearly 100,000 employees, the CEO asserts that there is uncertainty about the company’s self-sufficiency and ability for future investments, despite its history of making profits.
Thursday’s vote sparked criticism from opposition MPs, who rejected the urgency of the session and pointed out the existence of “unconstitutionality” in the project, for which they tried to break off the plenary session without success.
Along the same lines, the Association of Post Office Professionals (Adcap) said after hearing the MPs’ decision that the measure had been addressed in Congress “ignoring core issues.”
“Saeed’s project was addressed by ignoring fundamental issues, such as the fact that the attorney general’s office itself had already realized that a definitive privatization of the post office could not take place without a constitutional change,” the union said in a statement.
The constitutionality of the sale is already under analysis by the Brazilian Supreme Court, in a suit brought by Adcap in which the public prosecutor’s office has already spoken out against the full privatization of the state-owned company. EFE
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