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Brazil’s government has moved another step closer to privatizing state-owned mail company Correios (ECT) after the lower house of congress accepted a request to speed up approval.
A request for urgency in a bill that will update the regulatory framework for postal services was approved by 280 votes in favor and 165 against, which is a good indication that lawmakers welcome the idea of opening the company up to private control.
According to the legislation, if a bill is fast-tracked, it does not need to be discussed in committees and can directly go to a vote.
“I believe this vote shows that the discussion of the bill will happen sooner rather than later, despite sturdy opposition from leftist lawmakers,” lower house vice-president Marcelo Ramos told BNamericas.
“This is another important step towards the modernization of the postal sector, which needs investments of more than 2bn reais [US$366mn] per year in Brazil, which will only happen with private sector management of [Correios],” the head of Brazil’s privatization program, Martha Seillier, said in a release.
Meanwhile, the national post office workers association, ADCAP, criticized the fast-tracking of the bill. "Common sense was defeated by a majority that did not hesitate to use their mandate to jeopardize one of the few things that Brazilians receive from the state – a comprehensive, cheap and reliable postal service," it said in a statement.
"With this decision, the project will not be processed in the lower house committees, which is essential to address an issue of such complexity and importance," it added.
Alongside the bill in congress, which needs to be passed by both the lower house and senate before being signed into law, the government has ongoing studies to establish the best privatization model for Correios, which could involve the sale of the whole company or only majority control.
However, the government can only move onto the last stage of the studies once the bill has been approved.
Privatizations moving slowly
President Jair Bolsonaro was elected on a platform of making the economy more liberal and business-friendly, as proposed by minister of economy Paulo Guedes, a University of Chicago-trained economist. So far, the government has not had much success in stepping up its privatization agenda and most of the infrastructure concessions prepared so far were modeled by the previous administration.
However, Bolsonaro has also shifted back towards interventionism in the last year, influencing the management of state-controlled oil giant Petrobras and public bank Banco do Brasil, ringing alarm bells among investors and prompting sales of shares.
To make matters worse, the long-sought privatization of power firm Eletrobras has been put on ice by lawmakers who have political interests in the company.
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It's good to get these types of threads, the ridiculous my manager said bollox so we can reassure ourselves that while the world is falling apart, Royal Mail managers are still being the low life c***s they have always been.
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Not somewhere i’d return to in a hurry. Went to Rio, didn’t feel unsafe but well aware of high crime rate. Traffic horrific, where it didn’t stink of traffic fumes it stank of piss. Natives miserable, seemed expensive, public transport OK - I guess a legacy of the Olympics.
Regarding Postal service (!) stumbled across a Post Office in a shopping centre and bought stamps. After writing cards at hotel looked for post box and found that they don’t exist anymore, all been stolen or removed. Nearby post office had closed and the only option was to return to the shopping centre to post them, an hours journey.
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