Lula promises to interfere with Petrobras pricing policy if elected
Former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva gave markets yet another reason to fear his massive lead in the polls for the 2022 presidential race. In a radio interview on Tuesday, the center-left leader said said the government should interfere with the fuel prices charged by Brazilian oil giant Petrobras.
During the era of the ruling Workers’ Party, the government struggled to keep fuel prices low. However, during the Dilma Rousseff years, as inflation began to climb into double digits, this policy resulted in losses estimated at 100 billion BRL ($ 18 billion) for Petrobras.
After Congress impeached Ms Rousseff in 2016, her successor gave Petrobras complete autonomy to peg prices at international oil rates – sometimes price increases were announced daily. Experts say the shift from excessive intervention to almost complete liberalization has disrupted the local market.
“The Brazilian people must be the ones who take advantage of Petrobras,” Lula said on Tuesday. The reality is more complicated than that, however. Although under government control, Petrobras is a publicly traded company and the government has a fiduciary duty to minority shareholders.