Brazil plans to privatise or liquidate 100 state-run companies

FILE PHOTO: Brazil's President-elect Jair Bolsonaro speaks near his son Flavio Bolsonaro and Tarcisio Gomes de Freitas (L), the future Infrastructure Minister, at the transition government building in Brasilia, Brazil November 27, 2018. REUTERS/Adriano Machado

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - The Brazilian government plans to privatise or liquidate some 100 state-run companies, reflecting the new administration’s drive to reduce the size of the state, Infrastructure Minister Tarcisio Freitas said on Tuesday.

Freitas also said in a radio interview that the right-wing government of President Jair Bolsonaro, inaugurated on Jan. 1, is considering awarding licenses for private-sector firms to build and operate 5,600 kilometres of new toll roads and bid again on 4,000 kilometres of existing toll roads.

“We need to identify all the stretches of road which can be commercially run and transfer them to private sector via public-private partnerships and concessions,” Freitas said.

His remarks reflect Bolsonaro’s plans to attract private investment in the country’s relatively underbuilt road and rail networks, while shrinking the Brazilian state to close a huge fiscal deficit.

“Obviously we are not only talking about privatisations, but also about the liquidation of companies which are inviable,” Freitas said. “The plan is to free up the budget to invest in other priority areas.”

Reporting by Pedro Fonseca; Writing by Ana Mano; Editing by Bernadette Baum