We are still a firewood country. Yes, even if we fill our mouths talking to the world about our clean energy production or our gigantic hydroelectric plants, biomass (firewood, coal, etc.) continues to be the main source of energy for a large part of Paraguayans. In other words, we produce electricity in excess, but the vast majority of what is produced is transferred to our neighboring countries or is translated into system losses, while we go to firewood. Even so, last week, timidly and days after being endorsed, the President’s veto of the Law on incentives and promotion of electric transport in Paraguay, also known as the Electromobility Law, came to light, thus adding itself to the list of initiatives of incentive to use our energy but mowed down by this Government.
As always happens, the veto came with the due justifications given by the Ministries and Secretariats regarding the applicability of the project – all debatable –, but that is not the point today. Going more beyond of that.
We are not only entering the last year of this Government period, we are also in a very particular context. As always, we do not prepare in advance and the global scenario confronts us with a drastic rise in hydrocarbon prices, causing a fuel spike with all the consequences that this brings to the pockets of Paraguayans. And in the face of this complex scenario, a tied Executive Power, not knowing how to react, which tried some improvisations, pretending to indebt us all more to subsidize margins for a few, among other measures, but all with scant results.
And finally this project arises, much discussed by the way in both Houses of Congress, and that could finally serve as a first incentive for investments in electric transport in the short term. A project that could really give an important turn to our energy matrix. And so, plain and simple, without giving alternatives, without taking into account possible immediate positive effects, they come up with the idea of vetoing. And that is the inexplicable.
It is inexplicable because they simply do not offer anything in return. It is inexplicable because four years of this government have passed, and only after vetoing does it occur to them to say that they will present another project, as if time would wait. It is inexplicable because something that could be a positive message for the people, such as a hope for the renewal of public transport, to stop the rise in fares, or for accessible opportunities in alternative transport, is directly stopped. And everything stays the same.
Now it’s time to wait. Let’s see if we can reject the veto and thus give that favorable message. Because once again, beyond the project, what is serious is the message. The total absence of a development-oriented energy policy ends up reducing our competitiveness and we end up paying all Paraguayans.