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Brazil's audit court demands closer govt monitoring of sanitation sector

Bnamericas Published: Tuesday, November 08, 2022
Brazil's audit court demands closer govt monitoring of sanitation sector

Brazil's federal audit court (TCU) has identified signs of failure in government bodies and demanded better monitoring of the guidelines imposed by the new legal framework for the sanitation sector. 

Although the TCU considers that the monitoring work done individually by water regulatory agency ANA and the regional development ministry is "satisfactory," it has highlighted problems in other departments.

The audit court considers that the inter-ministerial committee for basic sanitation (Cisb), formed by the ministries of regional development, economy, the environment and tourism, has so far performed poorly.

According to TCU, there has been a failure to comply with the decree creating the committee, which states that there must be at least two annual meetings to discuss measures adopted in the sanitation sector. Since Cisb's creation, there has only been a single meeting to discuss the state of the sector.

The lack of engagement by Cisb could thus undermine the implementation of the new legal framework for basic sanitation, according to the TCU. 

The sanitation sector has been undergoing a major transformation since a regulation approved by the national congress in mid-2020 facilitated the entrance of private firms into the area, which was previously dominated by state-owned companies.

The regulatory changes come amid efforts by the government to expand coverage of sanitation throughout Brazil, since around half of the population does not currently have adequate water and sewerage services.

According to government estimates, the sanitation sector requires investments of around 750bn reais (US$144bn) to guarantee services for the entire population by 2033, however, the implementation of these necessary investments needs to be closely monitored by the federal government, in order to adopt corrective measures when necessary.

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