Brazilian president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva declared that the Belo Monte power plant will be built even if it means doing it without the private sector. Lula made his comment after being informed that Queiroz Galvão, the biggest construction in the winning consortium, Norte Energia, was threatening to pull out of the project.
The threat came right after the April 20 auction and was seen by many observers as jockeying by the construction firm to get a bigger piece of the action.
So, at the same time Lula commemorated his victory in the battle of judicial injunctions that made the auction on April 20 possible, he faced a little friendly fire.
“Nobody is being forced to do anything. Whoever wanted to participate in the auction did so, and now that it is over, whoever wants out can leave. There is no locked door here. In fact, there are many doors.
“Somebody wants in, no problem. Somebody wants out, no problem. The only thing I want to make clear is that the Brazilian state, acting as a public company, will do this, alone, if necessary,” said the president.
Lula pointed out that the Belo Monte discussion has been going on for three decades. Past administrations have been criticized for not building the dam.
It was such a complicated process, so many arguments, so many lawsuits, that in the end it turned out to be one of the most democratic processes possible, Lula explained.
“In a democratic manner we legalized the Belo Monte auction. We had to overturn so many injunctions. And now they say the price is too low. All this, I think, is fantastic. Why did we have the auction? So the best offer could win and the price of the electricity will be the bid price that won the auction. That’s all there is to it,” declared Lula.
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