By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter
SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – Brazil’s government unveiled plans for investments of R$198.4 billion (US$64 billion) in the country’s infrastructure with the objective of boosting the nation’s ailing economy. The investment will focus on expanding and improving rail lines, airports, ports and highways, through privatizations.
According to President Dilma Rousseff this new stage of infrastructure programs marks a ‘turning point’ for the government in its quest for the recovery of the country’s economy.
“For us, development means investments, jobs, income and quality of life. It means the capacity to grow, work and produce,” said Brazil’s President during the ceremony to announce the investment plans.
According to Rousseff the plan calls for a partnership between the federal and state governments, as well as the private sector to improve services, lower tariffs and pay investors adequately. To do so, said Rousseff, means authorizing new concessions to the private sector to build, maintain and administer ports, airports, highways and rail lines.
“We are making infrastructure concessions seeking more efficiency and larger and faster results. We are conducting [new] concessions to grow,” said the President. Rail lines are expected to receive the greater bulk of the investments, followed by highways, ports and airports. Of the total amount, a little over R$69 billion (US$22 billion) will be invested from now to the end of President Dilma Rousseff’s second term, in 2018.
At the press conference which followed the announcement, Brazil’s Finance Minister, Joaquim Levy, guaranteed resources will be made available and criticized skeptics. “There will be no lack of resources. It is no use betting against it. The design [of the plan] was done to attract long-term projects which will help the country grow,” he said.
Rio de Janeiro state is one of the states that will benefit the most from the infrastructure investments with a focus on highways and a railway to Vitoria in Espirito Santo. Furthermore, there will be concessions for the Rio-Santos and the metropolitan arch highways.