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Mayor of Santos argues privatization of Brazil’s largest port has to be addressed by Lula’s incoming government

Mayor Santos insists that local municipalities should play an active role instead of simply consultative, even if it means further delaying the privatization process.

Posted on November 14, 2022

The mayor of the port city of Santos, Rogério Santos, argues that representatives of president-elect Lula da Silva should take part in the privatization process of the Santos Port Authority (SPA), whose auction is scheduled for December.

Rogerio Santos demands that the privatization process must unfold in accordance with the new Federal Government authorities who are taking office January first. In effect the mayor insists that local municipalities should play an active role instead of simply consultative, even if it means further delaying the privatization process.

“If there is a change in government, the privatization of Santos Port Authority must align with the new government’s proposals. This is a critical strategic issue for Brazil, and I do not believe acting irresponsibly during the transition period is appropriate. It will be necessary to review the process, but now with the participation of municipalities from the start, which did not occur before,” Rogério said.

The Port of Santos is Brazil’s largest and most dynamic, and therefore, plays an important role in its foreign exchange and international projection.

Rogério claims that, in over three years of the privatization process, he only took part in the discussion for about ten months, his first intervention happening on December 23, 2021. “By the way, I wasn’t asked to participate in bringing contributions; I was reacting to what had already been wronged. We [mayors] did not participate in the development of the process, so it needs to be better matured, in my opinion, especially since we are in a period of government transition.”

The mayor also complains that the construction of a tunnel between the East and Northwest zones isn’t included in the privatization project. “I also spoke about the issue of the new Passenger Terminal in Valongo. It is impossible to think about privatization without knowing that his asset is guaranteed,” he says.

The mayor says that the president of the TCU, (Federal Court of Accounts) Minister Bruno Dantas, was “very proactive” regarding demands from municipalities. “He gave a lot of importance to the City Hall’s claims, especially regarding the governance of the Port Authority Board and the investments that must be made.”

Dantas described Rogério’s participation as very solid. “The TCU has tried to be as open to participation as possible, responding to demands that come to us, such as the mayor of Santos, with a legitimate, absolutely natural consideration. It is encouraging to see that various players in this process recognize the TCU as a qualified player capable of assisting in the improvement of projects.”

Dantas TCU rapporteur on the process said that, “some issues are still pending, which may delay the process. However, I hope the government will make every effort to resolve the pending issues as soon as possible.”


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