Congress rejects redrawn privatisation plans

4 Jul 2005

Paraguay’s Chamber of Deputies, the lower house of Congress, has rejected redrawn proposals by the Senate for the partial or total sale of state owned enterprises, including incumbent operator Copaco, three years after the original privatisation programme was halted. The rejected bill will now return to the Senate for further consideration. President Nicanor Duarte has already stated that he favours private investment in government companies, but wants to stop short of full privatisation because it would bring in ‘very little money’ for the Treasury and act as a disincentive for the economy. The government had originally proposed selling a stake in Copaco and opening up the local, long-distance and international telephony markets at the end of 2002, but strong opposition from telecoms workers’ union Sinattel – culminating in rioting and street protests – brought the plan to a grinding halt.

Paraguay, Copaco