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Brazil privatizing 4 airports, 2 ports in economic recovery effort

By Andrew V. Pestano
Brazil privatizing 4 airports, 2 ports in economic recovery effort
Brazilian President Michel Temer said the "government cannot do everything" when on Tuesday he announced the privatization of four airports and two port terminals as part of efforts to revive Brazil's struggling economy. Photo courtesy of Planalto Palace

BRASILIA, Brazil, Sept. 14 (UPI) -- Brazilian President Michel Temer announced the privatization of four airports and two port terminals as part of efforts to revive a struggling economy in which 12 million people are unemployed.

Temer, who formally took his post after Dilma Rousseff's recent impeachment, also said contracts will be offered to private companies for projects including mining and building new roads. The government's Crescer Partnership and Investment Program hopes to increase private investment in the country.

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"The government cannot do everything. It must have the presence of the private sector, as inducer of development and producer of jobs in the country," Temer said Tuesday during the announcement of the plan while flanked by members of his Cabinet. "Today's meeting was aimed at the production of jobs in the country -- the basic idea of this Partnership and Investment Program in the first place."

Temer encouraged the "extraordinary openness" of the private sector. Since assuming his role, he has pledged to make reforms on pensions and labor, as well as attracting domestic and foreign investors for infrastructure investments in sanitation, highways and railways.

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The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development said the Brazilian economy contracted 3.8 percent in 2015 and is expected to contract an additional 4.3 percent. Brazil's recession is the worst the country has seen in eight decades.

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Brazil's Federal Senate on Aug. 31 voted 61 to 20 in favor of removing Rousseff from the presidency over accusations she broke budget laws. Temer was then formally declared president after serving as acting president.

Rousseff was accused of covering up budget deficits by taking out unauthorized loans from state banks and of spending money without congressional approval during the 2014 presidential campaign. Temer has also been linked to corruption over the Petrobras scandal, in which Brazilian Federal Police said politicians and companies moved over $3.9 billion in what police term as "atypical" financial transactions.

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