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All that remains is to privatize Petrobras so we can finally live in the post-Vargas era

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Political debate, particularly during electoral periods, shows that the existence of mixed capital and state-owned enterprises in Brazil is increasingly meaningless. If we really want to benefit society with the wealth that these corporations generate, we will do so only through privatization.

The biggest beneficiary today is not society, but the company of these companies that have created an immune system that repels any stranger to their interests. At the end of the day, these companies keep the company’s assets and leave the liabilities to the community. Hence the importance of completing the Eletrobras capitalization process in this first semester.

The privatization of Eletrobras has been unsuccessful for years. During the administration of Fernando Henrique, Vale was successfully privatized in 1997, and in 1998, it was the turn of Telebras. These privatizations have brought many benefits to Brazilian society. The privatization of Eletrobras reminds me of the privatization of Vale.

Eletrobras is sure to be one of the largest and most energy efficient companies in the world, investing, generating jobs and paying dividends to its shareholders. Thus, all that remains is to privatize Petrobras so that we can finally live in the post-Vargas era.

Is it conceivable that the Brazilian state is in control of an oil company at a time when the world is discussing the energy transition? Does it make sense, in a country with so many social issues that need to be resolved, for the state to take control of an oil company? Are we going to commit this crime with future generations of Brazilians?

In Brazil, interference/populism and Petrobras’ monopoly have always been a barrier to competition and attract investment across the oil and natural gas industry chain. These two concepts have always walked and grown hand in hand. perfect coexistence. It is no coincidence that the defenders of monopoly are the same as the advocates of interventionist policies such as price control. We need to discuss in the National Congress the appropriate model for privatization. Would it be something similar to Eletrobras, setting up a company? Or is it better to divide Petrobras into several companies? The discussion is open.

It is always good to remember what I call the prophets before their time: Paulo Francis and Roberto Campos. According to Paulo Francis, “Petrobras is an old superfluous and it costs our eyes.” For Roberto Campos, “When the economic history of Brazil is written, ideological economic campaigns like ‘Oil is ours’ will be seen as a procession of unhealthy things, capable of turning a foul-smelling liquid into a sacred salve.”

Director of the Brazilian Center for Infrastructure (CBIE)

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