Brazil govt aims to sell at least $20 billion in assets this year

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro’s government wants to sell at least $20 billion in assets of state-owned companies this year including parts of Petrobras and Banco do Brasil, the country’s secretary of privatization said on Tuesday.

Salim Mattar said the government wants state-controlled oil company Petroleo Brasileiro SA and lenders Banco do Brasil SA and Caixa Economica Federal to sell most of their subsidiaries within four years.

Mattar, a former businessman, estimated that Brazil could raise up to 800 billion reais ($214 billion) by selling state-owned companies. The privatizations, along with cuts in spending on pensions and social security, are key to Economy Minister Paulo Guedes’s plan to reduce public debt, now equivalent to 77 percent of gross domestic product.

“If we reduce the debt, the amount of interest we save annually would allow us to increase expenditures in education and health,” Mattar said.

By Tatiana Bautzer for Reuters

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