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Governor Izolda Cela: “The people from Ceará excel”

19:17 7 de December de 2022 Por Daniel Oiticica

Innovation, technology, sustainable development. These are the goals that the State of Ceará has been pursuing for more than two decades, with the adoption of public policies that have de-bureaucratized the investment process, balanced the public accounts, modernized the infrastructure, and led the State to a prominent position, for example, in Brazilian education. Today, the logistic flow network and the high qualification of the workforce place Ceará as a protagonist in strategic segments, such as health, technology, and the generation of green energy, all of them high value-added activities. In this interview, Governor Izolda Cela highlights the advances and projects an even more promising future for Ceará, the land of opportunities.

Ceará is one of the least indebted Brazilian states with the highest GDP growth. What were the main policies implemented that allowed these very satisfactory results?
For at least six years, Ceará has been the State in Brazil that invests the most, according to Net Current Revenue. There are hundreds of facilities under construction, such as schools, kindergartens, roads, sandpits, health units, among others, in addition to investments in social programs. A well-balanced Ceará, with up-to-date fiscal health, combined with a large number of investments, makes the economy grow and generate more jobs and income for our population. This is essential for Ceará to grow and develop more and more.

What are Ceará’s main policies to allow a better distribution of its resources to all regions of the State, avoiding one of Brazil’s historical problems, which is the concentration of income?
All 184 municipalities in Ceará receive investments from the State Government. Independently of being a municipality with a mayor who is politically allied or in opposition. We do not make any kind of political distinctions. This helps in the equitable development of our cities, making the benefits of public power reach all the people in Ceará.

One of the main bottlenecks in the Brazilian economy is the excessive bureaucracy for licensing and opening companies. How can we find the best equation to maintain the necessary controls without bureaucratizing the system?
We have invested a lot in this process of de-bureaucratization in all areas of the State. We recently launched the Simpler Company platform, of the Board of Trade, which aims to reduce bureaucracy and relieve the creation of low-risk companies, those whose services do not offer environmental, sanitary, or urban risk of great impact. Also, we have the Innovation and Data Laboratory (Iris), which has accelerated the State Government’s Digital Transformation process. This has had a very positive impact on the services offered to citizens and on the functioning of the public machine.

In this sense, how would you define the business environment for investments in Ceará?
Excellent. We are geographically close to Europe, in relation to other Brazilian states, and have a whole base already created to receive new investments. As, for example, our trinity of HUBs (air, technological, and port). Besides this, we have the Export Processing Zone, the ZPE, which is located in the Pecém Industrial and Port Complex and is a ready-made space for new companies to set up in Ceará. Our teams are always monitoring and prospecting new investment opportunities in Ceará.

Ceará has drawn the attention of the world’s largest companies to its Green Hydrogen Hub project. What will be the great benefits that Ceará will have leading this clean energy generation movement?
I believe this is a time when we are all called to take an active position in relation to the impacts brought about by climate change. And the way we can contribute is by taking advantage of our state’s potential for the production of a clean and competitive fuel. We have attracted the attention of large investors around the world for the modern structure, with a strategic location and the integration of academia and the productive sector with the state for the production of Green Hydrogen in the coming years. This will bring countless opportunities to Ceará and already makes us stand out on the national scene as a pioneer in solutions for the energy transition. Along with the search for new investors, we continue to improve education in the State, strengthening basic education and constantly improving higher education, to train professionals who can take advantage of the opportunities that will be generated by our industry in the coming years.

Speaking of clean energy, Ceará is also highlighted in Brazil with its strategy and transition of the energy matrix to a sustainable model without CO2 emissions. How do you evaluate this movement?
It is a very daring movement, marked by the signing of more than 20 memorandums of understanding, besides our participation in the COP 27, in Egypt. We took to the event our experience with the State Plan for a Fair Energy Transition, Green Ceará, to align our state with the best practices in mitigating the effects of global warming, contributing to the construction of a more harmonious future for the next generations.

Besides being governor, you are a teacher and a specialist in education. Why is the educational system in Ceará today considered one of the best in Brazil?
The results that we are seeing today are the fruit of work done with many hands that has been going on for almost 20 years in Ceará. I have the satisfaction of having participated in the beginning of this journey, while still Secretary of Education under the former Governor Cid Gomes, of continuity under the current senator-elect Camilo Santana, as Vice-Governor, and currently as Governor. The merit of the quality of education in Ceará is the investment in public policies that range from literacy to higher education, with the expansion of full-time schools, early childhood education centers, incentive programs for low-income students to stay in universities, valuing education professionals, among many other measures that contribute to this recognition. It is an integrated effort that seeks to identify the most basic needs and overcome them.

Being from Ceará and having worked almost all your life in Ceará, how would you define the quality of the Ceará workforce for those outside the country?
People from Ceará excel in what they do. Proof of this is the constant search by our people for updating, training and new opportunities, at the individual level and as a characteristic of the last administrations, with the construction of an environment favorable to the creation of new jobs, which places Ceará as a highlight even in the adversities, with job creation and good fiscal indicators.

How does Ceará work today to transmit to the business world all the conquests it has obtained, in economic terms, in terms of governance, and in terms of respect for the environment?
We have a prepared and experienced technical team to talk to investors and convey all the benefits of investing in Ceará. This, no doubt, makes all the difference when it comes time to close the deals. It is enough to see the quantity of memorandums that we have already signed just in the Green Hydrogen area, as well as other areas.

As of 2023, the State of Ceará will have another government for the next four years. What guarantees are there that the state’s strategic development policy will be maintained, not only by the next government, but also by those that come after?
Many of our actions are no longer a government policy and are now a state policy, which brings legal security to investors. Besides, we have an entire structure and ambience already in place that favor the attraction of new businesses to Ceará. I have no doubt that the next administration, headed by Governor Elmano de Freitas, will maintain this strategy, which has been very successful in recent years.