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Brazil's powerful leftist workers party (PT) filed a lawsuit in the supreme court to block a recent temporary measure signed by President Michel Temer introducing new sanitation contract rules, increasing the controversy surrounding the sector.
The PT argues that the presidential measure only benefits private sector companies, a party spokesperson told BNamericas.
Last month, the socialist PSB party also filed a lawsuit against the measure under a similar argument.
Under the measure, municipal governments will be required to consult private sector companies about their interest in service contracts and projects. If they show interest, the local administration will have to open a tendering process.
Previously, state-run water utilities had priority access to contracts while private sector companies could compete only for those with no interest from state-run utilities.
Private sector companies, meanwhile, have welcomed the measure, suggesting it will attract more investments to the sanitation sector.
"I consider this as a good measure for the sector and also good for all Brazilians. When we talk about sanitation, we are still in the last century," Teresa Vernaglia, president of Brazilian water, wastewater and solid waste management company BRK Ambiental Participações told BNamericas.
"Currently, one in two Brazilians does not have access to sanitation and this is absurd. The provisional measure addresses some issues about the sector and is interesting for the population and for private companies and state-owned firms in the long term."