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Rio de Janeiro State to privatize water utility

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Staff Writer | February 22, 2017
The legislature for cash-strapped Rio de Janeiro state, Brazil’s third-largest, voted in favor of a controversial bill to privatize its public water and sewage utility.
Rio de Janeiro water
Drinking water   The sale of Cedae
The sale of Cedae is a condition for different loans the federal government is to provide to the state government, which declared a state of financial emergency in June, prior to the start of the Rio Olympics.

The sale was authorized amid protests by public employees outside the headquarters of the legislature and the water utility, whose employees have announced they will go on strike starting early Tuesday.

The legislative allies of Rio de Janeiro Gov. Luiz Fernando Pezao leveraged their majority to vote down more than 200 opposition-proposed amendments against the privatization plan.

The bill’s supporters said it was necessary to get the state’s financial house in order and pay the salaries of public employees.

Since mid-2016, Rio de Janeiro state has needed federal government loans and aid to cover its liabilities, including the payment of public salaries.