Funding for whom?

At the end of November 2012, the national development bank BNDES (National Bank for Economic and Social Development in Portuguese) approved a funding of R$ 22.5 billion for the construction […]

At the end of November 2012, the national development bank BNDES (National Bank for Economic and Social Development in Portuguese) approved a funding of R$ 22.5 billion for the construction of the Belo Monte dam on the Xingu river (Para state) by the company Norte Energia S/A.

The loan is the largest in the history of the bank and three times higher than the second placed. Moreover, it represents 80% of R$ 28.9 billion earmarked for the construction of the Belo Monte dam. Most of the money will come from the pockets of the Brazilians themselves as the BNDES increasingly depends on resources from the Treasury, which collects taxes paid by the citizens to fund loans like these. According to the newspaper Valor Econômico, from January 2009 until today, the Treasury transfered to the BNDES over half (51.4%) of R$ 538.2 billion disbursed by BNDES in the period.

The Movement of People Affected by Dams (MAB)’ question is “Who is going to pay that loan?” The already known expenses will be paid by the electricity bills. Meanwhile, the beneficiaries will be the big builders companies – Andrade Gutierez, Camargo Correa, Odebrecht and Queiroz Galvão, the three major enterprises of machinery and equipment – Voith, Alstom and Andriz – and insurers involved in the Consortium Builder Belo Monte (CCBM).

The sale of energy of the 30-year concession agreement for Belo Monte dam will generate revenues exceeding R$ 100 billion. The beneficiaries will be the company that owns the dam, Norte Energia, consisting of Iberdrola, Vale, Cemig, pension funds and part of Eletrobras. Eletrobras will have to pay about R$ 500 million per year related to the portion of the energy of the free market.

The conclusion is that while the Brazilian population pays the bill, the companies have profit from the privatisation of rivers and energy.

By paying the bill, what is left for the Brazilian people? Until now, the construction of the dams in Brazil has left a legacy of human rights violations. The case of Belo Monte, which will be the 3rd largest plant in the world, after the Three Gorges (China) and Itaipu (Brazil), is not different: only in the city of Altamira, more than 30.000 people have to leave their homes in the next year, and still have no guarantee of resettlement. More than 30 indigenous groups are affected, according to the Council of Indigenous Missionary. Fishermen, who depend on the river for their survival, are not recognised as affected people. In the region, the police reports increases, the property speculation reaches levels similar to the large cities, there is pressure on the systems of education, health and transport, not to mention the degradation of the Amazon biome. The “conditionality work” – budgetted at the very low value of R$ 500 million in comparision of the total amount of the construction – is admittedly delayed.

For these and other reasons, Belo Monte is the subject of 15 civil suits from Federal Prosecutors. It has also been fined by the governmental body IBAMA for R$ 7 million earlier this year. These facts were disregarded by BNDES, which, in theory, can only finance works that do not have pendencies by the court and the environmental agencies.

Belo Monte is an act of violation of human and environmental rights in the Brazilian Amazon, funded by public money, without any restriction or concern with the problems that this work has caused, is causing and will cause. The historical debt of the state with the affected populations is, unfortunately, growing again.

Conteúdos relacionados
| Publicado 21/12/2023 por Coletivo de Comunicação MAB PI

Desenvolvimento para quem? Piauí, um território atingido pela ganância do capital

Coletivo de comunicação Movimento dos Atingidos por Barragens (MAB) no Piauí, assina artigo sobre a implementação de grandes empreendimentos que visam somente o lucro no território nordestino brasileiro