Brazil mulls decree to unlock road infrastructure investments -paper


SAO PAULO, July 23 (Reuters) - Brazil's government is
putting the finishing touches on a decree changing toll-road
contract requirements in a move that could unlock billions in
infrastructure investments, according to the Sunday edition of
newspaper O Estado de S.Paulo.
    The government's plan, designed to avoid a cancellation and
rebidding for the licenses, would introduce an amendment in
existing contracts, giving more time for investors to extend the
roads they operate under the terms of their concessions, the
paper said, citing unnamed sources.
    The new rules, however, would only benefit companies which
rid themselves of partners involved in the Lava Jato corruption
investigation, in a bid to bring in new money and operators, O
Estado said, citing the same sources. The extensions for
expanding roads would be conditional on reducing tolls or
shortening overall concession periods, O Estado said.
    The presidential chief of staff's office did not respond to
a request for comment.
    Lack of financing and an intricate set of legal requirements
pertaining to the current toll-road contracts are delaying more
than 30 billion reais  ($9.55 billion) in investments on
Brazilian roads, O Estado said, quoting an industry group
representing the operators.
    The are 10,000 kilometers of federal roads operated under
concession, including stretches of the BR-163 highway, a key
corridor to move grains produced in Mato Grosso's agricultural
heartland to export markets.
    Improving the nation's logistics capabilities is key for
Brazil, a top grain producer and exporter which relies heavily
on trucks to transport agricultural goods.

 (Reporting by Ana Mano; Editing by Andrea Ricci)
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