Why Brazilians Should Demand the Renationalization of Petrobras

    Petrobras headquarters in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

    Petrobras headquarters in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil It is imperative that the Brazilian government follow a major global trend and start renationalizing as soon as possible the Petróleo Brasileiro SA (Petrobras). Before I describe a plan of action for economic development of the Brazilian economy, I hope the reader understands one major trend that has been in place for a number of years.

    Today one of the major sources of funds available for investment around the world is the money being accumulated by many countries in their Sovereign Wealth Funds. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has estimated that these government funds control over US$ 3 trillion dollars in assets. 

    A report published by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in September 2007 “The Rise of Sovereign Wealth Funds” said the following: “Sovereign wealth funds are a fairly new name for something that’s been around for quite a while: assets held by governments in another country’s currency. All countries have foreign exchange reserves (these days, they’re typically in dollars, euros, or yen). When a country, by running a current account surplus, accumulates more reserves than it feels it needs for immediate purposes, it can create a sovereign fund to manage those “extra” resources.

    Sovereign funds have existed at least since the 1950s, but their total size worldwide has increased dramatically over the past 10-15 years. In 1990, sovereign funds probably held, at most, $500 billion dollars; the current total is estimated to be over $3 trillion dollars and, based on the likely trajectory of current accounts, could reach $10 trillion dollars by 2012.

    Currently, more than 20 countries have these funds, and half a dozen more have expressed an interest in establishing one. Still, the holdings remain quite concentrated, with the top five funds accounting for about 70 percent of total assets. Over half of these assets are in the hands of countries that export significant amounts of oil and gas.”

    On Wednesday, June 13, 2007 I spent the entire day attending a seminar in New York City regarding the current economic development that is under way in Saudi Arabia. At the Saudi government-organized seminar I learned that the Saudis were estimating that oil prices will have a floor price in the coming years around $50 dollars per barrel, and they expect to have a cash flow of at least $ 13 trillion dollars for the period 2007 to 2030. And the estimated cash flow from oil for all the Gulf States in the Middle East; it is estimated to be around $ 25 trillion dollars for the same time period.

    In July 2008 the price of a barrel of oil has reached $ 146 dollars and some oil experts are estimating that oil prices will have a new floor price in the coming years in the range of $ 80 to $ 100 dollars per barrel. These estimates are not taking in consideration future declines in the value of the US dollar in world markets, and in that event the price of a barrel of oil would be adjusted accordingly; and in turn it would affect global oil demand and the possible feedback into the value of the US dollar. 

    Now if we adjust the present value of the cash flow from oil revenues estimated by Saudi Arabia about a year ago to a new average of $ 80 per barrel then the new figures that they would expect to have as cash flow would be at least $ 21 trillion dollars for the period 2007 to 2030. And the estimated cash flow from oil for all the Gulf States in the Middle East would be around $ 40 trillion dollars for the same time period.

    This is the new game in town, and these massive amounts of revenues are the reason why countries such as Russia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia and others have renationalized their oil and gas industry in the last few years.

    Petróleo Brasileiro SA – (Petrobras)

    Today Petrobras is recognized as a leading global company in its field. Petrobras explores for and produces oil and natural gas. The company refines, markets, and supplies oil products. Petrobras operates oil tankers, distribution pipelines, marine, river and lake terminals, thermal power plants, fertilizer plants, and petrochemical units. The company operates in South America and elsewhere around the world. Petrobras is the world’s leader in development of advanced technology from deepwater and ultra-deep water oil production.

    As of May 19, 2008, Petrobras became the 3rd largest company of the Americas, after Exxon Mobil and General Electric, and the 6th largest company in the world.

    In the last year Petrobras found a lot of oil and gas in Brazil including an oil field named Tupi. Petrobras, Brazil’s state- controlled oil company, said in November that Tupi holds 5 billion to 8 billion barrels of recoverable crude equivalent, and a Brazilian regulator said last month that a neighboring field called Carioca may have 33 billion barrels. And the forecast right now is that Brazil has a lot more oil resources that will be found and explored in the coming years.

    The Renationalization of Petrobras

    A key issue in nationalization is payment of compensation to the former owners and in the case of Petrobras they should make a bid for the outstanding shares in the public’s hands (55.7% of Petrobras’ common shares with voting rights is owned by the Brazilian government; however, the privately held portions are traded on Bovespa, where it is part of the Ibovespa index, and some shares are also traded as ADR’s on the New York Stock Exchange) and this bid should take into consideration an average price for a barrel of oil of about US$ 70 dollars per barrel in the coming years.

    If some shareholders don’t accept the up front cash offer from Petrobras then these shareholders might be able to negotiate a higher price for their shares to be paid over a period of 10 years and be adjusted accordingly to reflect the market price and actual development of this new oil found by Petrobras – in other words, these shareholders would share in the future risks involved in this deal and if the market for some reason manages to go down to the $ 50 dollars level for a barrel of oil, then the payments to these shareholders would be adjusted accordingly.

    The nationalization of oil and gas supplies has been going on for many decades and includes countries such as Iran, Saudi Arabia, Ecuador, Venezuela, Russia, Mexico, and Bolivia.

    It seems that if oil is so important and so rare, as they tell us, we should have a better control of our own national reserves when we take in consideration that oil is a strategic and economic asset.

    One of the central benefits obtained through the nationalization of the oil companies will be the immediate redirection of all accumulated profits towards finding renewable sources of energy to replace oil, the construction of an affordable cross country mass transit system, a high-speed rail network, investment in nuclear energy, investing in high-speed broadband infrastructure, and also investing in some other key strategic infrastructures.

    This would lay an infrastructure of transportation for the 21st century that would eventually replace our outmoded highly inefficient highway system that is geared more towards a resource-abundant past and not a resource-constrained future.

    The New Economic Development Plan

    Brazil would create a new Brazilian government agency to be in charge and to be accountable for the cash flow of money provided by Petrobras; money that would fund all of the suggested investments of the enclosed plan regarding the new economic development plan for Brazil. The new agency would operate with complete transparency to avoid scandals and misappropriations of funds related to all aspects of this new type of financing of very large projects.

    The investments would be done taking into consideration Brazil’s long-term strategic needs, and here are the main areas for investment in Brazil. I would suggest that the Brazilian government invest at least $ 300 billion dollars in four major areas in Brazil as follows:

    1) Nuclear power plants – US$ 180 billion
                                                                                                                       
    2) Strategic infrastructure – US$ 50 billion
                              
    3) High-speed broadband infrastructure – US$ 30 billion

    4) High-speed rail networks – Bullet Trains – US$ 40 billion
                                                                                                                     
    Major Investment Areas in Brazil Regarding This Plan

    1) Nuclear Power Plants – US$ 180 Billion

    I would suggest first, that Brazil invest US$ 180 billion dollars, and use the money to add at least 20 new 1,500-megawatt (MW) nuclear power plants over a 10-year period in strategic areas of Brazil (the cost of each nuclear reactor has increased in the last two years from an estimated cost of US$ 2 billion to US$ 3 billion dollars to the current price of about US$ 6 billion dollars each and the costs are still rising; as the cost of concrete, steel, and other materials are skyrocketing because of global demand), and also use part of the money to do some up-grading of its current uranium enrichment facilities.

    Today, Brazil has one plant, located at Resende, less than fifty miles from Rio de Janeiro, and this plant was designed to initially enrich only 60 percent of the material needed to supply their original two reactor plants. Ultimately, Brazil aims for complete nuclear energy self-sufficiency.

    Brazil is home to the world’s sixth-largest uranium reserves, and developing its uranium enrichment facilities makes economic sense since the global nuclear power plant business is making a comeback in many countries, and it is growing with potentially large commercial global markets as more countries build new nuclear power plants.

    Besides the 20 new nuclear power plants, Brazil should invest part of the money in a state-of-the-art nuclear waste reprocessing plant instead of having to find a place to store the spent nuclear fuel. The French already have been using such reprocessing technologies for many years.

    Used nuclear fuel (often called spent nuclear fuel) is nuclear fuel that has been irradiated in a nuclear reactor (usually at a nuclear power plant) to the point that it is no longer useful in sustaining a nuclear reaction. If not reprocessed to retrieve the remaining usable uranium and plutonium, it is a form of radioactive waste.

    Nuclear reprocessing separates any usable elements (e.g., uranium and plutonium) from fission products and other materials in spent nuclear reactor fuels. Usually the goal is to recycle the reprocessed uranium. It is the process that partially closes the loop in the nuclear fuel cycle.

    Use of breeder reactors combined with reprocessing could extend the usefulness of mined uranium by more than 60 times.

    The technology for making reprocessed uranium fuel is well established, and there is no technical reason limiting its adoption. And nuclear reprocessing is a much better choice than the one the United States decided to adopt where used nuclear fuel is currently planned for disposal in deep geological formations, such as Yucca Mountain, where it has to be shielded and packaged to prevent its migration to mankind’s immediate environment for thousands if not millions of years.
                                                                                                                         
    2) Strategic Infrastructure – US$ 50 billion

    Developing the proper infrastructure is an important part of an economic development plan and serves as a foundation for any developing country to be able to achieve its goals regarding industrialization, urban development, and speeding up the movement of goods not only for the domestic market but also for international trade.

    One advantage of being an emerging country is that you can benefit from leapfrogging in all areas of your economic development when you try to implement the best models that were available around the world at the time – you learn from other people’s successes and mistakes.

    Today certain types of infrastructure development are a requirement for a country that is trying to achieve economic growth and also is trying to survive in a very competitive global economic environment.

    There are various definitions of what constitutes infrastructure, but generally infrastructure refers to the large-scale public systems, services, and facilities of a country or region that are necessary for economic activity to become reality. The economic infrastructure includes such systems as the transportation networks with its highways, bridges, tunnels, airports, and ports, the water and sewerage facilities, the various types of energy distribution (electric and gas), and the various telecommunication networks distributed via cable, fiber optics, or satellite.

    These entire economic infrastructures play an important supporting role when a country is trying to secure its place in the global supply chain. It is important for the movement of goods inside the country – local goods or imported goods – as well as for the goods and commodities produced for distribution via international trade.

    Let me give you just one example – today Brazil has 47 ports in the country – but the government needs to upgrade at least ten of them to international standards of technology and productivity – this modernization would be imperative to keep pace with Brazil’s export explosion in the coming decades. But the government probably will need to build a few more new ports in the future to accommodate the economic expansion that is under way and help to lower shipping costs for Brazilian exporters.

    Construction costs for most of the infrastructure systems such as the energy, water and sewage, and transportation sectors are enormous and the construction period is also very long. Prediction of demand pattern and investment allocation, which are some of the key factors of infrastructure development planning, must be based on a long term economic development trend and land use planning, which also predict the country’s future demographics and possible economic structure.
                                                                                                                          
    3) High-speed Broadband Infrastructure – US$ 30 billion

    The federal government in Brazil, in partnership with state and local governments, needs to create and promote the universal availability of high-speed broadband infrastructure throughout the country, connecting the major communities in Brazil with the rest of the world. Today universal access to broadband is in the interest of the majority of the population in Brazil, and it is becoming almost a requirement for a country to be connected with a state-of-the-art high-speed broadband infrastructure to be competitive in the new global economy.

    The investment in high-speed broadband infrastructure should be viewed in the same way governments view federal investments in basic infrastructures in a country, such as the highway system, water system, airport system, bridges and tunnels and so on…

    Brazil should adopt the leading edge in technology available at the time of its investment regarding high-speed broadband infrastructure, and the government should keep in mind the infrastructure such as the systems in operation in South Korea, Japan and China.

    An article published on the San Francisco Chronicle said: “If you live in South Korea, it is an everyday reality to have always-on super fast Internet — broadband — both in your cell phone and in your home.

    South Korea is the most wired country on the planet. Some South Koreans can get up to 20 megabits of data per second — breakneck speed by today’s standards. Americans are lucky if they get 4 Mbps.

    While South Korea leads in the rollout of broadband, the United States — supposedly the world’s technology leader — comes in no better than No. 13, according to experts. About 76 percent of households have broadband in South Korea. The figure is 30 percent in the United States.
                                                                                                                       
    Broadband widens the digital data pipeline to allow complicated files, including pictures, graphics and video, to be downloaded at near-instant speed. Experts consider the development of broadband networks to be the single most important step for expanding digital technology and bringing cutting-edge computer applications directly into people’s lives.

    “There is no point in Korea where you can stand without receiving a signal,” said Joy King, director of industry marketing at Hewlett-Packard. “In the U.S., we are still at the ‘can-you-hear-me-now’ level. When Europe and Asia are moving to multimedia text messaging, the U.S. has just started text messages. The U.S. is a Third World country in this aspect.”
                                                                                                                           
    …Silicon Valley used to be hailed as the world’s high-tech capital. Now many consider South Korea the king…. U.S. technology leaders are sounding the alarm that the nation is falling dangerously behind in broad areas of digital innovation, including broadband.

    …In South Korea the government spent billions of dollars building a fiber grid, reaching schools and government buildings, and offered another billion in financial incentives to phone companies that strung broadband links to homes. Tough competition drove prices down, demand surged and the country was on a roll.

    …HP’s King cites several reasons for slow broadband development. “North America is lagging because first of all it didn’t have one underlying standard,” she said. “Secondly (it’s lagging) because the government has not really invested directly in infrastructure. “

    The US is a generation behind Japan and Korea in high-speed broadband, according to Technology Futures, Inc. While the U.S. languishes at 1 to 6MB/s, Japan and Korea are already rolling out next generation 20MB per second speeds.

    On September 7, 2006 Questex Media published an article saying: “Some 62 million Americans are still using their telephone lines to dial into the Internet, according to recent figures from the Pew Internet and American Life Project. Other figures from research firms like Forrester show that only about 40% of Americans have high-speed connections at home, 30% rely on dial-up and 25% don’t have any Internet connections at all!

    This at a time when China is poised to overtake the US to become the world’s largest broadband market. New figures from Ovum show China will have 79 million broadband subscribers in 2008. And overall penetration is just above 3% in China, which means there’s plenty of room to grow. Ovum predicts 139 million subscribers by 2010, and a subscription growth rate of 75% annually.”
                                                                                                                
    On June 26, 2007 DSL News published an article “US broadband speed lags behind” and the article said: “The availability of high-speed broadband in the US is significantly lower than in many other countries around the globe, according to a new report from Communications Workers of America (CWA).

    According to the report, the median download speed in the US is 1.9 Mbps, compared to 61 Mbps in Japan and 45 Mbps in South Korea. France outstripped the US on broadband speeds as well, reporting an average 17 Mbps.

    CWA President Larry Cohen said: “Speed defines what is possible on the Internet. Speed determines whether we will have the 21st century networks and communications necessary to grow our economy and jobs.”
                                                                                                                            
    Other nations around the world, especially “economic competitors”, have concretely decided to stress high-speed networks and by delaying, America is doing no less than “[putting its] economic growth at risk”.

    The investment by the Brazilian government in a state-of-the-art high-speed broadband infrastructure around the country will play an important part in helping in the economic development of Brazil in the coming decades.

    Private companies and local governments should connect to such infrastructure and supply services to the local populations, but competition between these service providers should help lower the cost of using the system to most customers as is the case in various countries where they have that type of set up.

    That type of infrastructure set up is helping these countries not only to keep their high-speed broadband infrastructure at the leading edge of technological development, but at the same time they are able to provide all kinds of state-of-the-art services to customers at the lowest market price possible. Real competition at this level helps to lower the price to the end users.

    4) High-speed Rail Networks – Bullet Trains – US$ 40 billion

    One of the major infrastructure projects that should be developed in Brazil is the construction of a high-speed rail network in Brazil connecting vital areas of Brazil with a network of high-speed railway lines using the latest in technology regarding high speed bullet trains.

    They can start with the construction of a 1,000-mile rail network system that should cost about US$ 40 billion and connect an important area between Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and immediate areas.
                                                                                                                          
    Brazil should build a high-speed railway system similar to the one that they have in Japan. The Shinkansen is a network of high-speed railway lines in Japan operated by Japan Railways. These trains can be up to sixteen cars long. With each car measuring 25 m (82 ft) in length, the longest trains are 400 m (1/4 mile) from front to back. Stations are similarly long to accommodate these trains.

    Before 1964 conventional trains had to spend more than 6 hours traveling between Tokyo and Osaka (322 miles (515km)). With the introduction of Tokaido Shinkansen, the traveling time has been reduced to 3 hours and 10 minutes. Now the fastest Shinkansen connects Tokyo to Osaka in just 2 hours and 30 minutes.
                                                                                                                          
    Even though the fare is much cheaper for a highway bus between Tokyo and Osaka, few passengers choose it, due to more than 8 hours of travel.
                                               
    Due to the high-speed railway system in Japan, the trains run speeds have been 443 km/h (275 mph) for conventional rail, and up to 580 km/h (360 mph) for maglev trainsets.

    I am not suggesting that Brazil should develop a maglev train system, because of radiation concerns. I am suggesting the construction of the fastest conventional bullet train system available today.

    This new bullet train system would help move not only the Brazilian people around, but also would play an important role as Brazil develops further its international tourism industry.

    Ethanol

    On June 5, 2008 Ethanol Producer Magazine reported on some comments made by President Lula on June 3 at the U.N. Food and Agricultural Organization summit in Rome “Brazilian president slams U.S. corn ethanol.”

    The article said: “Brazil’s President, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, had harsh comments for the United States’ corn ethanol program during his comments June 3 at the U.N. Food and Agricultural Organization summit in Rome. “I am not in favor of producing ethanol from corn or other food crops,” he said. “I doubt that anyone would go hungry, to fill up their car’s fuel tank. Meanwhile, corn ethanol can obviously only compete with sugarcane ethanol when it is shot up with subsidies and shielded behind tariff barriers.”

    Later in his speech, Lula compared ethanol to cholesterol. “There is good ethanol and bad ethanol,” he said. “Good ethanol helps clean up the planet and is competitive. Bad ethanol comes with the fat of subsidies.””
                                                                                                                       
    I know that President Lula thinks that Brazil can be the new Saudi Arabia and feed the US energy market with ethanol made of sugar cane, but that concept is complete nonsense.

    In my opinion, ethanol made from sugarcane is a good solution for Brazil regarding its energy needs, but it is not a good idea to export this solution to other countries around the world, since we will need all the available land to grow food not only for Brazil, but also to feed other countries around the world.

    The world is moving very fast in the direction of future food shortages and there are many reasons for that and it would be criminal for a country such as Brazil that could help alleviate this growing food shortage and help to feed millions of mouths around the world, and instead Brazil uses its valuable agricultural resources to feed car engines of people who don’t have even a minimum of common sense since they are driving big gas guzzling SUV’s.

    I wonder why Lula is even suggesting that Brazil should start exporting ethanol to the United States. The United States has made a long term commitment to supply its ethanol market with ethanol made from corn; besides in the last 6 years, the United States has invested over US$ 1 trillion dollars in Iraq in their pursuit of new sources of oil.

    The United States has placed their big bets on ethanol made from corn and in Iraq as a new source of oil, and it will be very hard to turn the tide around on all the vested interests involved in these bets.

    The United States should keep the 54 cents per gallon tariff on ethanol from Brazil, or even increase the tariff to US$ 1.00 per gallon, since ethanol imported from Brazil would compete with the ethanol made from corn in the United States and the new ethanol imported from Brazil would help very little and it is not a viable solution to meet the US energy needs.

    Brazil should not export ethanol to any other country, and Brazil should use ethanol only for its domestic needs. Today Brazil has its act together and the last thing Brazil needs is for the US market to start sucking the ethanol from the needs inside Brazil and creating further inflation in Brazil.

    What the Brazilian government needs to do immediately is to pass a federal tax on ethanol exported to other countries to discourage the exporting of ethanol from the Brazilian local economy.
                                                                                                                      
    They are in the process of building another 50 ethanol refineries in Brazil to meet the local ethanol demand in the coming years. Brazil needs all the ethanol that it will produce in the coming years and Brazil can’t afford to sell the ethanol to the highest bids from around the world.
       
    The Brazilian ethanol export tax should go up according to the price of oil on the international markets and always be a little higher to discourage people from other countries from buying ethanol from Brazil.
                                                                                                                          
    Brazil should use its growing agricultural power to grow food, and Brazil can make agriculture in Brazil a more profitable business by moving up on the food chain. Instead of selling the raw materials Brazil can start manufacturing the foods that people want around the world since manufactured products usually have a higher profit margin than raw materials with few exceptions, and oil comes to mind.

    Brazil should prepare itself to help feed the growing middle classes in countries such as China, India, and the oil producing countries of the Middle East, since that is where demand for food is going to be coming from, and Brazil can provide food for these markets.

    Conclusion

    It is imperative that the Brazilian government renationalize Petrobras immediately and use this amazing source of funding to fund the enclosed economic development plan to plant the seeds for Brazil to be able to develop the new economy of the future and to help it to blossom and create millions of new jobs for the Brazilian population.

    When the Brazilian government takes action to make official the renationalization of Petrobras, they should also tie it together with the implementation of the enclosed economic development plan; otherwise many people would start wasting away the new money resources on their pet projects and corruption could get completely out of control in Brazil.

    This economic plan would place Brazil on a path of economic diversification and the economy of the future. If there is one thing that I don’t want to happen in Brazil, it is for the Brazilian economy to start getting dependent only on oil exports as its major source of income at the expense of developing a new economy for the 21st century.

    The enclosed plan is a solid plan in every sense, and there is a strong connection binding all the parts of this economic plan together. Some people might question why I included in this plan USUS$ 30 billion for high-speed broadband infrastructure. But that is a major part of the plan because it would help connect Brazil with that type of technology and in turn people and businesses would be able to flourish in communities from around the country and people would be able to find jobs in the areas where they currently live. The high-speed broadband infrastructure would also serve as the foundation and would play a major part in helping in the development of the new educational system of the future that will bring good education to communities around the country through the Internet.

     The high-speed broadband infrastructure would also help to speed up economic development around the country, and local communities would be able to develop local businesses that would be able to sell their goods through the Internet, and people could stay where they live in Brazil today instead of having to go to the big cities to be able to find a job or locate a new business venture.

    I used to think that the free market would help solve many of the problems of society including education, infrastructure, and so on…But today I know better and I know that running a country based only on free market principles and the profit motive can take your country in the wrong path and you don’t have to look further than the United States to see all kinds of problems getting completely out of control because at the end of the day a system based on greed and wishful thinking can’t deliver the best services required by its citizens.

    The US economy is in complete disarray today and it does not matter where you look at the system; it is in a massive mess and Americans can’t figure out how to fix any problems related to its energy area, healthcare system, educational system, crumbling and obsolete infrastructure, its collapsing financial system, its under funded pension system, and so on…

    The free market capitalist system makes the wrong decisions all the time that cost people trillions of US dollars with terrible future consequences for the population, and the sub-prime mess represents only the latest chapter of a massive misallocation of resources.

    Here is what I wrote a few years ago on that subject. Quoting from my article published in September 2002 – I said the following: “Countdown to Armageddon”.

    “…Until recently, I used to believe in a completely free market economy. Today I know there is a place for government regulations and government protection of its industrial base against foreign competition. Deregulation has been a disaster in the U.S. to the airline, the energy, and the telecommunications industries. For example; many airlines are on the brink of bankruptcy in the United States.

    Business Week magazine of August 5, 2002 reported that since the Telecommunications Act was passed in 1996 to deregulate the telephone industry, investors have lost over US$ 2 trillion as the stock prices tumbled 95 percent or more from their highs. The crisis could relegate the U.S. to second-class status in the communications industry in the future.
                                                                                                                                             
    I used to think that governments at all levels usually wasted lots of money, and that they were a very poor allocator of resources. I used to think that the free open market system was the best allocator of resources. Today I have my doubts about unregulated and a savage and destructive type of capitalism I have seen in operation since the mid-80’s. It started with the savings & loan scandals and debacle of that industry in the 1980’s and culminated with the latest string of company scandals on Wall Street. I believe that the government has a role in stabilizing the economy.
                                                                                                                           
    For years, an overvalued financial market built on misleading and false information sent highly misleading signals to investors who eventually lost trillions of valuable national savings, which were misallocated to unneeded and wasteful investments. Investors lost over US$ 2 trillion in the telecommunications industry and over US$ 1 trillion in the dot.com fiasco. These investments are gone and will have an impact on many people’s retirement plans in the future, since a lot of their pension money was invested in these promising areas.”

    I wrote the above before the latest fiasco of the sub-prime mess and now you can add to the list another major financial scandal that has been cooked up as a new financial innovation, but at the end of the day after the dust settles it looks more like a massive financial scam than anything else.

    In my opinion government has the responsibility to invest in some key infrastructure to make sure that the infrastructure is available to help in the economic development of the country. There are many reasons why the private sector would not make these important investments on a timely basis and the state has to fill that void.

    Brazil has a very short window of opportunity to implement the renationalization of Petrobras and also implement the enclosed economic development plan since competition from other countries it would make impossible for Brazil to find the necessary technical people and the materials available to build the nuclear reactors and the other parts of this plan.

    Today there is major economic development of all kinds of infrastructure that is going on in many countries around the world as never seen before in countries such as Saudi Arabia, China, India, and so on, and there is not enough know how and materials to go around to meet the needs of all these economic development projects. It takes years to build all these new infrastructures around the world, and the countries with the smartest people and with the deepest pockets are the ones that are going to be able to implement their plans on a timely basis.

    I hope that we have enough people in the Brazilian government with vision of the future and they have the foresight to see what is ahead of us in the coming years. Otherwise if Brazil is too slow to act then Brazil will continue to be just the country of the future – and that future will never materialize. Brazil has to start moving at the speed of light almost immediately to be able to stay ahead of the pack and achieve these economic development goals.

    Ricardo C. Amaral is a writer and economist. He can be reached at brazilamaral@yahoo.com.

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