The Petrobras privatization project has been defined as a “priority” by the new head of the Ministry of Mines and Energy, Adolfo Sachsida, even the allied base of President Jair Bolsonaro (PL). The news that the new minister had already handed over studies to the economic team with a view to privatizing the oil company, aroused rejection among the interlocutors of Planalto.
Among those working for the re-election of the current head of the federal executive branch, there are two conflicting opinions. One group fears that a controversial measure such as the privatization of Petrobras will end up steering the election campaign, further eroding and wearing out Bolsonaro. On the contrary, another wing of the support base believes that the agenda can generate electoral gains.
The sector advising against the proposal announced by Sachida argues that the measure could become a “shot in the foot”, as the first negative effects of the announcement are already beginning to appear at the Planalto Palace.
Last Friday (13), the General Coordinator of the Unique Union of Oil Workers (FUP), David Basilar, threatened the government with the “biggest strike in history”, if Bolsonaro dared to “direct the privatization of Petrobras”.
At a meeting scheduled for Sunday (15), truck drivers will decide whether the class will launch a national strike in protest of the recent diesel price increase (by 8.87%).
Government allies make it clear that even if part of the class adopts Bolsonaro’s rhetoric that the increase in fuel prices is entirely Petrobras’ responsibility, it is important to keep in mind that there are differences in this regard among truck drivers. There are still those who say, behind the scenes of the government, that the debate over the privatization of the oil company could “give ammunition to the left”.
In defending that Petrobras “should have its social role in regards to fuel prices,” during a live social media broadcast held earlier this week, Bolsonaro confirmed that he had no intention of interfering with Petrobras’ management, except “through calm.”
According to information from government allies, there will be two legal forms of intervention in the state-owned company. One of them is related to the shipping cost. The Economy Ministry calculates that a change in freight value could lower the oil price by 10% to 15%.
The idea of the members of the Ministry of Mines and Energy is that a possible change in the formula used to calculate fuel prices could lead to a decrease in the amounts charged at service stations. However, this path contradicts the position of Petrobras’ president, Jose Mauro Coelho, who has stated that the company will maintain its pricing policy (alignment with the international market) at all costs.
Another idea under consideration is to expand the range of modifications announced by Petrobras, which currently have no specific frequency.