President Jair Bolsonaro criticized an expected increase in domestic fuel prices by Petroleo Brasileiro SA, saying the state-owned oil producer has made exaggerated profits during the crisis, without taking into account Brazil’s “public interest.”
“Petrobras may plunge Brazil into chaos,” Bolsonaro said in a Twitter post early Friday, referring to the oil giant. “Its chief executive, directors and board members know very well what happened when truckers went on strike in 2018, with the nefarious consequences for Brazil’s economy and the life of our people.”
A nationwide stoppage by truck drivers such as the one that paralyzed Brazil during the Michel Temer administration is a nightmare scenario for Bolsonaro, who’s trailing former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva in opinion polls less than four months ahead of elections. A growing number of Brazilians already blame the incumbent for the country’s economic problems, according to the polls.
During a live social media broadcast Thursday, Bolsonaro said that any increase in fuel prices at this moment would be politically motivated and that he expected Petrobras to delay its decision until next week, when congress is expected to vote on a series of proposals to lower or eliminate fuel taxes. He also said the government is trying to replace the company’s chief executive and some board members by the end of next week.
– O Governo Federal como acionista é contra qualquer reajuste nos combustíveis, não só pelo exagerado lucro da Petrobrás em plena crise mundial, bem como pelo interesse público previsto na Lei das Estatais.
— Jair M. Bolsonaro (@jairbolsonaro) June 17, 2022
Bolsonaro’s allies echoed his fury. Lower house Speaker Arthur Lira said he will meet with party leaders on Monday to discuss the issue. Lawmakers are considering whether to reassess Petrobras’s pricing policy, increase taxes on its profits and even launch a congressional probe into its board members, according to O Globo newspaper.
Petrobras seems ready to “bomb” the country with a new fuel price increase, Lira wrote in a Twitter post, comparing the oil company to an “independent country at war with Brazil.”
A República Federativa da Petrobras, um país independente e em declarado estado de guerra em relação ao Brasil e ao povo brasileiro, parece ter anunciado o bombardeio de um novo aumento nos combustíveis.
— Arthur Lira (@ArthurLira_) June 16, 2022
Published at Sun, 19 Jun 2022 06:38:56 -0700