BRASILIA - Brazil's President Michel Temer launched an infrastructure concessions program on Tuesday that he said should raise 45 billion reais ($14.43 billion) in investment in building and operating roads, port terminals, railways and power transmission lines.
Temer said the program was key to restoring an attractive business environment as Brazil struggles to emerge from its worst-ever recession.
"There will be 45 billion reais in new investment in the energy, transport and sanitation sectors which will lead to the creation of 200,000 new direct and indirect jobs," Temer said.
Inaugurating a meeting of the Program for Partnerships and Investments (PPI), which will oversee the tendering of the concessions, Temer said 55 projects would be launched with private-sector partners.
"We are leaving behind a deep recession and entering in a phase of prosperity where private investment will be decisive," said the president, who has said his top priority is curbing unemployment running above 12 percent.
Data on Tuesday showed a surprise acceleration in Brazil's deep economic downturn in the final quarter of 2016, stepping up pressure on President Michel Temer and the central bank to do more to promote growth.
The economy showed a steeper-than-expected decline of 0.9 percent in the fourth quarter, following a 0.7 percent drop in the previous three months.
Wellington Moreira Franco, the minister coordinating the PPI, said the federal government would propose 35 concessions in energy transmission.
The government said in a statement it would also launch the early renovation of five railway concessions in return for commitments on investment.
The government said it would launch concessions for new areas in the ports of Santana, Itaqui and Paranagua and extend contracts in Santos, Vila do Conde and Niteroi.
With its budget squeezed by the deep recession, Temer's government is betting that an increase in private investment can help revive the economy despite political turbulence caused by a sweeping anti-corruption investigation.
($1 = 3.1179 reais)