Brazil lawmakers blast Eletrobras privatization move

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

The provisional measure overturning the ban on privatizing Brazil's state-run electric holding company Eletrobras has come under fire from local lawmakers.

Legislators argue the privatization process requires a bill to be approved by congress.

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"One cannot sell an asset via a provisional measure. It is undemocratic that the representatives of society in parliament are not considered before the decision is taken," lower house president Rodrigo Maia told reporters.

He added, however, that the privatization model defined by energy minister Fernando Coelho Filho is positive. The model involves the government keeping a 40% stake in the company.

"By not selling all its shares now, Brazil will be able in the future to either keep its interest and receive dividends or sell its remaining shares for an increased price," Maia said.

The federal government aims to complete the privatization process by September, before the next presidential elections.

The government of Michel Temer is also facing growing resistance among lawmakers to the privatization of Eletrobras subsidiaries, which may delay the sell-off plans.