Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro Thursday hinted he might put the national oil company Petrobras up for sale after being criticized for an increase in the price of fuel. During the 2018 presidential campaign, the retired Army Captain said he would only privatize it if there was no other solution.
Meanwhile, Economy Minister Paulo Guedes would have no objections against selling some Petrobras stock over to private hands, according to his statements from the United States where he is participating in International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank conferences. Petrobras, a state-owned company with open capital that is listed on the New York and San Stock Exchanges. Pablo.
I already want to privatize Petrobras; I want to. I'm going to see it with the economic team, see what we can do. What happens? I can't control the price of fuel, but when it increases it's my fault. Cooking gas increases? The fault is mine!, said the head of state in a radio interview in the state of Pernambuco, during which he vowed to stay away from Petrobras' price policy.
Economy Minister Paulo Guedes had pointed out Wednesday that it would be a wise move for the Government to sell shares of the state oil company and funnel part of the profits to the most vulnerable population, it was reported.
According to the National Broad Consumer Price Index (IPCA), gasoline went up 39.6% YoY in September and gas 34.67%. Twelve-month inflation stood at 10.25% in September, reaching double digits for the first time since 2016.
Can I interfere with Petrobras? I can, but I must not. If I interfere, I will be responsible for a crime of liability, said the president.
During the interview, Bolsonaro also brought up inflation and said that if his government had not done anything, it would have tripled.
Petrobras head Gen. (Ret.) Joaquim Silva e Luna, whom Bolsonaro appointed in February after sacking Roberto Castello Branco, ratified the company's policy, which adjusts the cost of fuel taking into account the exchange rate of Brazil's real against the US dollar in addition to the international price of a barrel of oil. The increase in the price of fuel and diesel is one of the items pumping up inflation. Last Friday Petrobras rose the price of gasoline by 7.2%.
Silva e Luna was president of the Itaipu hydroelectric dam and is a man of confidence of Bolsonaro.
Regarding the economic hardships Brazil is going through, Bolsonaro claimed others faired worse: “Just look at how the rest of the world is doing in terms of inflation and shortages.”