UPDATE 2-Brazil launches massive privatization plan to rescue economy
(New throughout, adds details, comments)
By Leonardo Goy
BRASILIA, Sept 13 (Reuters) - Brazil's new government on Tuesday launched a sweeping plan to auction off licenses to operate oil and gas, electricity and infrastructure projects in an attempt to boost investment and pull the economy out of the deepest recession in eight decades.
The government will sell operating licenses by March for airports in the cities of Porto Alegre, Salvador, Florianópolis and Fortaleza. It also plans to sell rights to operate federal roads in the center-west and southern regions later next year.
President Michel Temer is selling assets and pushing for a series of austerity steps to narrow a record budget deficit and control debt that cost the country its investment-grade rating and marred investor confidence in the once-booming economy. He has vowed to shift away from the interventionist economic policies of his predecessor, Dilma Rousseff.
"We need to open up to the private sector because the state cannot do everything," Temer told ministers in a meeting to discuss the plan dubbed "Project Growth."
Rousseff, a leftist in her second term as president, was ousted by the Senate in August for breaking budget rules.
Wellington Moreira Franco, Temer's point man for boosting private sector involvement in revamping Brazil's deteriorated infrastructure, said the concessions will offer "realistic" rates of return and have guaranteed long-term financing from state banks or raised on capital markets through bond sales.
"We will restore confidence by expanding the legal security for investors," Moreira Franco said. Continuación...