• SELECT SITE CURRENCY
Select a currency for use throughout the site
Country Report Brazil
The Economist Intelligence Unit, May 2013, Pages: 22
At the eleventh hour Congress passed into law a medida provisória (MP, temporary executive decree)--that was due to expire at midnight on May 16th--to open up Brazil's ports to greater private investment. The reform was a top priority for the president, Dilma Rousseff, as it formed part of her efforts to upgrade Brazil's rickety logistics infrastructure through a large concessions programme, covering roads, railways and airports. Even though the government enjoys a comfortable majority in both houses of Congress and approval of the bill required a simple majority, the process proved fraught with difficulties. And the manner in which the bill was handled both by the government and the parties in Congress is likely to contribute to a more headed political environment ahead of the October 2014 general election.
The port reform was unveiled late last year as a constructive attempt to modernise a strategic but underperforming sector of the economy. Since then, the legislation dominated the political environment, particularly in the weeks leading up to the expiry of the MP decree. As opposition to the bill increased, Ms Rousseff and her civil chief of staff, Gleisi Hoffman, launched dramatic calls in order to get the MP approved before its expiry. The president publicly asked Congress to approve what she considered to be one of the most important "strategic measures" for Brazil.
The lower house only approved the MP after a lengthy and acrimonious debate (including two final overnight sessions that lasted for 39 hours), while the government majority in the Senate simply rubber-stamped the bill with little debate once it received it from the lower house in order to prevent it from expiring. The recently appointed Senate leader, Renan Calheiros, of the Partido do Movimento Democrático Brasileiro (PMDB), the main ally in the president's ruling coalition, steered through the vote but vowed that the Senate would in future require at least one week to consider legislation coming from the lower house.
Country Report Brazil
Congress approves bill to open ports to more investment
Government struggled to secure support from allies
An unwieldy government coalition