PT softens and praises the Law of State-Owned Companies in campaign; see candidate proposals

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PT softens and praises the Law of State-Owned Companies in campaign;  see candidate proposals

In June, attempts to change the board of Petrobras put the State-owned Companies Law in the government’s line of fire, causing an unusual alignment between Jair Bolsonaro (PL), members of Centrão and PT president Gleisi Hoffmann. At the time, the PT deputy even said that the legislation criminalized the policy and that she would agree with Arthur Lira (PP) if he proposed a discussion about changes in the text.

Now, in the final stretch of the presidential campaign, candidate Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva’s party adopted a more complimentary tone to the law, which has a certain appreciation of the financial market for creating mechanisms to shield state-owned companies against political interference.

In general, candidates have avoided attacking the legislation during the electoral race, although they suggest specific changes in the text. Even so, of the four best placed in the polls —which together represent about 90% of voting intentions—, only Simone Tebet (MDB) cites the State-owned Companies Law in the government program filed with the TSE (Superior Electoral Court).

The State-Owned Companies Responsibility Law (13,303/2016), sanctioned in 2016 by the then interim president Michel Temer (MDB), was approved in response to a series of investigations that pointed to political use of companies in previous administrations.

At the time, it was said that one of the main objectives of the project was the professionalization of the management of state-owned companies. Therefore, new rules were created, prohibiting, for example, the appointment of party leaders or politicians who had contested elections in the previous 36 months. However, the text is broad and deals with aspects ranging from the corporate regime to the standardization of procedures for bidding.

Lula (PT)

When the legislation came into Bolsonaro’s sights — after trying to replace the president of Petrobras due to dissatisfaction with a fuel price readjustment — Gleisi spoke to the House plenary to defend changes, saying that a government elected by the people must be able to give the line of action. action for state companies.

The parliamentarian pointed out that the law prohibits candidates who have participated in elections for four years from being appointed to management positions in state-owned companies. “You can’t be a politician or a party leader, as if being a politician were a crime. And we know how it works. Whoever commits crime, who comes up is the private initiative. It is the private initiative that corrupts, and then they did this: no can be political,” he said.

Recently, interlocutors of the party with the market began to say that Lula is not going to change the Law of State-Owned Companies — although the candidate reinforces his intention to change Petrobras’ pricing policy.

In a note, the former president’s campaign says that the law has brought undeniable advances to the governance of public companies and mixed capital companies, adding that the legislation is the result of an intense agenda of discussion of good practices played during the PT governments.

“It is important to respect the advances arising from the State-Owned Companies Law. The best way is to expand and improve the governance of state-owned companies to ensure compliance, in particular, with the social function, the collective interest or compliance with the imperative of national security that justified the creation of the company, aiming, therefore, always in the first place, to serve the public interest”, says the statement.

Lula’s campaign also highlights commitments to improving the integrity mechanisms of companies so that they fulfill, with agility and dynamism, their role in the process of economic development and social, productive and environmental progress in the country.

“We adopted fundamental measures in this sense in the PT governments; it was we who, for example, approved the Access to Information Law and forced state-owned companies to publish even the salaries of their employees”, he concludes.

Jair Bolsonaro (PL)

President Jair Bolsonaro (PL) does not say in his official government plan how he intends to deal with the State-owned Companies Law. wanted by Sheet to comment on the candidate’s plans, the campaign did not respond to requests from the report.

A few months ago, however, members of the centrão — a group of parties that are part of the government’s allied base — defended the flexibilization of the law to facilitate changes in the command of the company. “What is intended is a faster solution for replacement when there is a need,” said the government leader in the Chamber, Ricardo Barros (PP-PR), at the time.

Bolsonaro even studied an MP (Provisional Measure) to change the legislation, but later said he did not intend to tamper with the basis of the “pentaço”.

The president was also accused of failing to comply with the State-Owned Companies Act. First, by appointing the current president of Petrobras, Caio Mario Paes de Andrade, whose CV was questioned in light of the requirements established by law — such as experience in the oil and gas sector and academic and professional training.

More recently, the government’s insistence on electing members to the oil company’s board has also been seen as an attack on governance. On the 19th, the government overrode the rules and appointed two people rejected by the internal committee and by the collegiate itself because of conflict of interest.

Ciro Gomes (PDT)

Ciro is also critical of Petrobras’ pricing policy and, in his government plan, says that one of the priorities is to make changes to the system — although he does not offer details.

Today, the company’s prices follow the variation of oil and the exchange rate, which has been the target of the candidate, for whom Petrobras “only benefits importers and shareholders”, while harming Brazilian society, given its impact on inflation. .

Economist Nelson Marconi, coordinator of Ciro’s government program, says that the campaign did not define any specific changes in relation to the State-Owned Companies Law, but he understands that the text leaves some contradictory aspects – especially in relation to the social role of companies.

“It is a law that governs state-owned and mixed capital companies, but the changes added in the last revision tried to reduce the State’s interference in the decision-making process of these companies”, he says. “We understand that some of these points are problematic for public management”, she adds.

According to him, the legislation brings important aspects related to transparency, governance and accountability. The question, however, is in relation to an attempt to stop companies from exploring economic activities in different conditions to private companies. “It’s quite contradictory to what is expected of the public sector,” he says. “That’s a big problem in the law.”

Simone Tebet (MDB)

The only one to mention the State-Owned Companies Law in the government plan filed with the TSE, the MDB candidate says she intends to implement and deepen the advances of the legislation, guaranteeing the qualification and independence of the members of the councils and directors of publicly traded state-owned companies.

Sought to elaborate on the proposal, Tebet’s campaign said the current government has repeatedly violated the legislation, without major consequences. “The Union, as the controlling shareholder, must protect the company’s interest, and the law must be amended to limit dismissals for political reasons and to classify as administrative improbity the conduct of undue interference in the autonomy of the Boards of Directors of mixed capital companies of open capital”, he says, in a note sent.

According to the candidate’s campaign, the idea is to take autonomy from the hands of those who have the competence to pass it on to those who do not have the capacity and knowledge, for political or partisan interests.

In July, Tebet had presented a project to amend the State-owned Companies Law and demand the existence of Women’s Ombudsmen linked to the Board of Directors. The proposal was filed after complaints involving the former president of Caixa Econômica Federal Pedro Guimarães.

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