The Brazilian government wants to apply the public-private partnership (PPP) model to the upkeep and operation of many of the country’s national parks, which number almost 70.
The new government of interim president Michel Temer – who took office in August and represents the right-wing Brazilian Democratic Movement Party – is considering putting out to tender the restoration, operation and 30-year maintenance of up to 25 parks. Feasibility studies are already underway.
Whole-park concessions have been implemented in Brazil in the past. The biggest is Cataratas de Iguazú Group, which operates high-profile parks such as Iguazú National Park in southern Brazil, and Fernando de Noronha Marine National Park, located on an Atlantic Ocean island to the country’s north-east.
Conservation and job generation
The Chico Mendez Institute for Biodiversity Conservation, part of the ministry of the environment, maintains the overall control of the conservation management inside the parks.
“We are keen to create partnerships between the government and the private sector using the concessions model,” says Marx Beltrão, Brazil’s minister of tourism. “We hope that the tourism industry can bring tourists to the parks and build restaurants and hotels. In this way, they can help to generate jobs.”
In September, the national congress approved a law to strengthen the PPP framework in Brazil, known as the investment partnership programme (IPP). Its main goal is to expand the role of the private sector in infrastructure projects.
Under the IPP rules, the government has announced an ambitious infrastructure plan to boost the Brazilian economy, called Programa Crescer (Project Grow). This initiative, involving 25 projects, includes granting private concessions for airports in the cities of Porto Alegre, Salvador, Florianópolis and Fortaleza, two ports, two roads and two railways.
Energy under the hammer
It will also auction rights in oil fields and hydroelectric plants. Furthermore, it entails the privatisation of six power distributors owned by state-run power holding company Eletrobras.
The government plans to grant all the concessions by the end of 2018, and has pledged 30bn reais ($8.8bn) to support the long-term financing of the projects. Some 18bn reais of this will come from the Brazilian National Development Bank (Bndes).
The São Paulo state government is also considering putting out to tender a 20bn real intercity passenger railway, and is currently consulting the public about this initiative.
The state of Amazonas would also like the private sector to operate and maintain a new 70,000-square-metre bio-park, located close to the city of Manaus. The state already owns the land and would hand it over to private companies prepared to invest up to 5bn reais in the project.
“The park is backed by the federal government,” says Nickolas Anjos, director of marketing of the government of the state of Amazonas. “It will definitely happen and we expect it to receive up to 700,000 visitors a year.”
It is forecast that the park would increase the total number of tourists to Amazonas state by one third.