Almost a year ago, President Jair Bolsonaro’s announced his goal to shrink the government’s footprint in the private sector. Besides raising cash to narrow the country’s deficit, he hoped to reduce the bloated bureaucracy and reinvigorate the economy by reversing a long-established culture of government involvement in corporate affairs.

Since then, Brazil has shed all kinds of assets. The instant lottery was sold off for $200 million in October to a global gaming consortium. Spain’s Aena shelled out $500 million for rights to operate six airports. And state-owned Petrobras unloaded almost $11 billion worth of businesses, including 90% of its TAG gas pipeline. Finance Minister Paulo Guedes recently disclosed that sales totaled $23.5 billion in the first nine-months, surpassing the $20 billion target.

And that amount might climb faster if the government streamlines the process to sell assets, as expected. Salim Mattar, a former businessman who heads the country’s privatization secretariat, acknowledges that under the existing procedures, it may take months, even years, to sell a company. But he says the government is working on new procedures.

Talk of changing the process comes at a time when the government has made more assets potentially available as it sorts through the complicated web of relationships between the public and private sectors. In October, Brazil’s finance ministry identified 208 state-owned companies in a quarterly report, 75 more than the previously listed.

Included in the total are assets abroad that are now up for sale For example, Argentina’s Banco Patagonia is controlled by state-owned Banco do Brasil.

“Some of these assets are huge, which will need investments from sovereign funds and industrial investors’’

—Ricardo Lacerda, BR Partners

Even the most recent number understates the government’s overall ownership. Mattar calculates that the federal government has investments in 637 companies. Some are directly controlled by the government, while others are subsidiaries of state-owned companies. Still others are minority investments in private enterprises.

The success of the federal government privatization program may persuade states facing budget constraints to speed up similar plans, according to JPMorgan Chase’s Brazil chief economist Cassiana Fernandez. The states control gas, energy and water utilities, banks, radio and TV stations, real-estate developers and even mines.

The state legislature in Rio Grande do Sul has already approved the sale of power utility CEEE, gas distributor Sulgás and the mining company CRM. The privatization is part of a program to reduce the state budget deficit.

The sale of government-owned assets could fetch as much as 200 billion reais ($50 billion) over the next three years, according to analysts, as some of the bigger companies go on the market. These include the national postal service, Correios, and the banknote, coin and stamp maker Casa da Moeda.

“Some of these assets are huge, which will need investments from sovereign funds and industrial investors,’’ says Ricardo Lacerda, CEO of São Paulo-based BR Partners. The investment bank advised Petrobras on the sale of its TAG pipeline.

Before the government starts counting its proceeds, it has to reform the slow privatization process that can discourage potential buyers.

The exercise begins with a bidding process to hire investment advisers. The development bank BNDES also serves as an adviser. Minimum bids and payment procedures are established. Then the potential offering to goes to an audit court for approval. In instances where a company’s sale could have a social or economic impact, Congressional approval is required.

“The government must start proceedings to hire advisers to evaluate the assets. Once the evaluations are done, the studies will be scrutinized by the audit courts,’’ says Karin Yamauti Hatanaka, a partner of the São Paulo-based law firm Cescon, Barrieu, Flesch & Barreto, which is advising Parana state’s power utility Copel to sell its telecom business.

Despite hundreds of possible acquisition targets, the government currently lists just 16 companies that are ready for sale along with a catalogue of infrastructure projects and concessions. According to Mattar, train operator Trensurb and port owner Codesa are next on the auction block.