Greater participation of the private sector in water and sanitation services, as well as in the Hydrographic Basin Committees, is essential to unlock investments in new projects in the sector. These were the two main points highlighted by the experts participating in the first Webinar of the ReVisão debate series 2050, of the Brazilian Business Council for Sustainable Development (CEBDS), what happened on the day 29 April and aimed to plan and build a post-pandemic future vision for the country.
The first meeting dealt with issues related to Water and Sanitation, and had the participation of partner companies of the Brazilian Business Council for Sustainable Development (CEBDS).
"The sanitation sector in Brazil has continental needs. And it is clear that the government is unable to respond alone to the challenge of taking this type of service to everyone", said Marina Grossi, president of CEBDS.
The challenge is big to universalize sanitation
A study by Instituto Trata Brasil reveals that more than 100 millions of people do not have sewage collection and 35 millions of Brazilians do not have access to the water network. It is estimated that the annual investment required to universalize the service up to 2033, as provided for in the National Basic Sanitation Plan, is BRL 23,8 billion. And the current average annual investment in Brazil is around R$ 10 billion.
In this sense, the PL vote 4.162/2019, which is ready for processing in the Senate, it is essential to advance this agenda because it proposes a new regulatory framework for greater involvement of private companies in the sector. "The model will only start to be changed with the approval of the Bill that is in the Senate. This should be the next priority for the National Congress, because it will allow some ordering for private sector access to this type of service", said Teresa Vernaglia, CEO of BRK Ambiental, which considers the sector as a potential locomotive for investments in the post-pandemic, with investments of around R$ 20 billions in infrastructure and job and income generation.
Para Stela Goldenstein, representative in Brazil of 2030 WRG (Water Resources Group), of the World Bank, the expansion of the participation of companies in the management of water resources can also contribute. "The participation of companies in the Hydrographic Basin Committees is one of the paths that must be adopted, because in these forums, plans and public policies are decided. E, today, many of these plans lack efficient management", observed.
Edison Carlos, Executive President of Instituto Trata Brasil, defended a management shock for a leap in quality in the supply of basic sanitation services in Brazil. "There is great potential for attracting resources for sanitation, not just for internal investors, how much external. But with the rules we have today this will not happen. The regulatory framework is fundamental in this regard".
Stela Goldenstein, of the World Bank, also highlighted the importance of promoting profound changes in the articulation on other issues not directly related to water, Sewer, but with impacts on the sector, as housing and land tenure regularization.
Crank Project Director, Joyce Trindade recalled that Brazil has a nation of slum dwellers, while inequality also poses risks to people's lives., mainly in the context of the pandemic. For example, she presented data from the Municipality of Rio de Janeiro that indicate confirmed cases and deaths in two districts of the city. "In Barra da Tijuca, wealthier neighborhood, there is today 247 confirmed cases and 12 Deaths. in Campo Grande, on the outskirts of the city, they are 146 confirmed cases and 20 deaths", compared.
understand the project
The project allows the entry of the private sector in the provision of sanitation services and sets a period of one year for mandatory bidding for the services. In this period, the state water and sewage companies will be able to renew the current contracts signed with the municipalities without a bidding process, for until 30 years old. Although, new contracts of this type cannot be signed after the approval of the law.
According to the text, sanitation contracts must define universalization targets that guarantee the fulfillment of, respectively, 99% e 90% of the population with drinking water and sewage collection and treatment until 31 December 2033.
Contracts in force without these targets will have one year to adapt. The new contracts, arising from the bidding, will be conditioned to proof of economic and financial capacity to achieve these goals.
The text also defines the National Water Agency (ANA) as a national reference regulator, to solve impasses, like the issue of indemnities, and enable smaller municipalities to join together as a block to ensure the economic and financial viability of a project.