Brazil's new president uses Twitter to announce privatization plan for air and seaports

  • Right-wing nationalist Jair Bolsonaro was sworn in as Brazil's president on Tuesday, and immediately called on Congress to combat endemic corruption and promised to "work tirelessly so that Brazil reaches its destiny."
  • Two days into his presidency Bolsonaro has announced a privatization plan on Twitter.
Jair Bolsonaro, far-right lawmaker and presidential candidate for the Social Liberal Party (PSL), gives thumbs up to supporters during the second round of the presidential elections, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on October 28, 2018.
CARL DE SOUZA | AFP | Getty Images
Jair Bolsonaro, far-right lawmaker and presidential candidate for the Social Liberal Party (PSL), gives thumbs up to supporters during the second round of the presidential elections, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on October 28, 2018.

Brazil's freshly appointed president has taken to Twitter to announce plans to privatize 12 airports and 4 sea ports.

Right-wing nationalist Jair Bolsonaro was sworn in as Brazil's president on Tuesday, promising in his inauguration speech to "create a new virtuous cycle to open markets" and "carry out important structural reforms."

Bolsonaro's election campaign included promises to transition parts of Brazil's economy away from state-run enterprises to more private sector operations, and a tweet on Thursday appeared to underline a commitment to that ideology.

The president claimed that privatizing airports and ports would raise initial investments of 7 billion reais ($1.85 bn).

Prior to his inauguration, the new leader slammed Brazil's economy as being weighed down by "hundreds of bureaucratic governing bodies", claiming his government would aim to "untangle the mess."

It is forecast the state sell-off will gather pace with more than 250 billion reais worth of assets potentially set to go on the block.

The unemployment rate in Brazil declined to 11.6 percent in the three months to November of 2018 from 12.1 percent in the three months to August. It is the lowest jobless rate since the three months to July 2016, but still way above a record low of 6.2 percent in December of 2013.

Brazil recorded a government budget deficit equal to 7.8 percent of the country's Gross Domestic Product (gdp) in 2017 and reducing public debt is seen as another one of Bolsonaro's biggest challenges.

One key test will be whether the new president can gather enough political support to take on the reform of Brazil's hugely expensive state pension obligations.

The 63-year-old is Brazil's first far-right president since the country ended rule by military dictatorship in 1985. One in three of his cabinet are former army officers, many of who have openly praised the country's 1964-1985 military regime.