posted on 06/20/2022 06:00 / updated on 06/20/2022 06:08
(credit: Paulo Sergio/Chamber of Deputies)
On the eve of the leaders’ meeting called to discuss the fuel price policy practiced by Petrobras, the president of the Chamber, deputy Arthur Lira (PP-AL), returned to harshly attack the state company. “We don’t want confrontation, we don’t want intervention. We just want respect from Petrobras to the Brazilian people. If Petrobras decides to face Brazil, let it prepare itself: Brazil will face Petrobras. And it’s not a threat. It’s an encounter with the truth “, posted Lira, on Twitter.
Reducing or stopping the rise in fuel prices has become a key issue for President Jair Bolsonaro (PL) just over three months before the first round of elections. Therefore, the Chief Executive and allies do not spare criticism of the company. On Saturday, Bolsonaro said he had agreed with Lira to forward, at today’s meeting, the proposal to create a Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry (CPI) to investigate the issue.
For some analysts, however, the government is advancing on dangerous ground, as the CPI can become a stage for criticism of the Planalto, as happened with the Senate committee that investigated the covid-19 pandemic. So much so that opposition lawmakers are not against the idea.
“I understand the CPI. I’m the first to propose! In a brief script we can already: investigate Petrobras, which is part of the government, then investigate the presidents of Petrobras, whom Bolsonaro himself appointed, and we will arrive at the answer that… of the government itself”, said Senator Randolfe Rodrigues (Rede-AP), who was vice president of the Covid CPI in the Senate.
The government leader in the Chamber of Deputies, Ricardo Barros (PP-PR), however, says that the eventual CPI of Petrobras should not follow the same path as the CPI of Covid in the Senate. “This one will be in the Chamber, and will have another composition”, he told the Correio. Barros noted, however, that the decision to form the CPI has not been taken. “Let’s evaluate. It hasn’t been decided yet,” he said.
For the PT leader in the Chamber, Reginaldo Lopes (MG), the formation of a CPI, without changing the state-owned company’s price policy, would harm the company’s image, even abroad. “This government is already over. And attacking Petrobras, in a serious country, a company whose activity affects the entire Brazilian economy, with a direct impact on inflation and on workers’ pockets, in my opinion, would be a mistake. the Brazilian patrimony. The government is not interested in this, it just wants to give it to friends in the oil and gas sector”, said the Minas Gerais parliamentarian.
The College of Leaders should also debate other proposals to hold down fuel prices, such as charging an Export Tax on oil sales abroad. Another idea is to raise the state company’s Social Contribution on Net Income (CSLL). The funds obtained from the measures could be used to cover costs and allow for more moderate adjustments to gasoline, diesel and cooking gas.
The government is Petrobras’ largest shareholder, having appointed six of the 11 directors, in addition to all the company’s presidents – the current one, José Mauro Ferreira Coelho, sworn in just over two months ago and already dismissed by Bolsonaro, awaits the bureaucratic procedures to leave the post to Caio Mário Paes de Andrade, also appointed by the Chief Executive. For this reason, the government is criticized for not changing its pricing policy, which has followed parity with the international market since 2016. In addition, the Union is largely benefited by the high profits that the state-owned company has been obtaining.
The possibility of interference in Petrobras provoked reactions in the economic environment. In a note released yesterday, the Brazilian Institute of Oil and Gas (IBP) criticized measures aimed at controlling fuel prices by any means. “The IBP defends the principles of economic freedom and the free formation of prices for products in the oil chain as the only possible way to consolidate a more competitive market in Brazil”, says the note.
“The current situation is complex and does not have a quick solution. (…) Therefore, the IBP does not support price control in the supply chain or the creation of liens for oil exports”, concludes the document.