José Renan Filho is encouraged by the challenges. At 42 and after having been there twice governor of Alagoas He was appointed to the Ministry of Strategic Transport. His resume explains why Lula chose him for a job in a country with many years of disinvestment in roads and railways.
Filho aspires to a very ambitious investment plan, $4.5 billion annually. It’s not just any challenge. This economist, descendant of one of the Brazilian political dynasties, with a father who was four times president of the National Congress, is today one of the relevant figures of the PMDB, an ally of Lula.
In the midst of a week of high exchange rate tensions and political noise, Filho brought good news to Buenos Aires. He has assured his counterpart Gabriel Katopodis that Brazil will build and it will fully finance two new bridges with Argentina. In addition to confirming that the expansion of the pipeline that transports gas from Vaca Muerta to its neighbor and partner country.
Currently there is the Tancredo Neves International Bridge, also known as the International Fraternity Bridge, which connects Foz do Iguaçu in Brazil with Puerto Iguazú in Argentina. Also, the one that connects Uruguayana with Paso de los Libres in Corrientes.
Now add the I take Xavier to Rio Grade do Soul with San Javier in the province of Misiones. And another that will unite Sao Tome in currents with Sao Borja in Brazil. The investment in the latter two cases reaches US$120 million and will be covered 100% by Brazil.
As for the gas pipeline, it envisages the construction of the second section called Salliqueló-San Jerónimo, which will supply gas to part of the Argentine coast and guarantee gas from northern Argentina, and which in turn creates the conditions for sending gas to Brazil through two additional works. In this case it is about 800 million dollars and the financing is provided by the Brazilian BNDS.
“It will allow us to stop depending on Bolivian gas, which is in decline,” Filho said clarion who hinted that there could be more announcements when Alberto Fernández travels to Brazil in June to celebrate 200 years of relations between the two countries.
-How was your experience in Alagoas?
– It’s a small state in the poorest part of northeastern Brazil, but I decided to organize accounts and generate funds. We have been able to build hospitals, reduce violence and reduce dropout rates, as well as progress in infrastructure. In the railways we have better fares than in San Pablo.
-What drives Brazil to finance strategic works for Argentina?
-Argentina is our main customer in industrial products. We sell raw materials to the world and understand as part of our development that promoting regional trade is essential.
-What is your schedule as Transport Minister?
-Brazil has many difficulties in its infrastructure which represents a bottleneck in the central region. We have invested very little and this reduces our international competitiveness. We need to invest more in railways which are cheaper and more sustainable. And they facilitate access to ports Of course, in a continental country like Brazil, a lot of funds are needed. In Argentina, only 5% of cargo takes place by rail and in Brazil, 17%. We are facing the goal of going from 17 to 40%. We will also improve the waterways. This combination is important. With the train and the use of rivers road accidents are reduced. Brazil is the third country in the world with the highest rate of road accidents. And, of course, we have to deal with the improvement of land routes.
-How will they do given the scarcity of funds?
-We try to expand the country’s investment capacity in a public-private interaction. We are working in the rivers of northern Brazil, such as the Amazon, which facilitates the exit of production from central Brazil to the Atlantic. About 30% of Brazilian soybeans pass through the north of the country. In this way we have freed up the southern ports so that they have more capacity for the production of industrial exports. We will invest 4.5 billion dollars in one year. And $20,000 million over 4 years with public resources.
Charles Arterburn is a seasoned business journalist for News Rebeat, where he provides comprehensive coverage of the latest trends and developments in the world of finance and economics.