Brazilian IT sector up in arms over government plans to target private sector tech clients

State-owned tech company Serpro is being accused of trying to take business away from commercial operators

Brazilian IT firms expressed concerns over the largest state-owned tech firm's plans to significantly increase its private sector customer base.

The trade body representing more than 2,000 local information technology firms, Assespro, released a note criticizing the new strategy of soon-to-be-privatized federal data processing service Serpro.

About 85 percent of Serpro's revenue comes from the government clients, but the company wants to change that scenario and boost its private sector customer portfolio from 1,300 to 4,000 by 2020.

The trade body noted that issues with the state-owned tech firm started in 2012, when new legislation was introduced to remove the need for some government departments to procure Serpro services through tendering processes.

"[Serpro's] expansion announcement amplifies the issue, as their business model might take business away from Brazilian companies," the association said.

There is no constitutional backing for Serpro's new competitive practices, Assespro argued.

"This is a case of the State working against society and using public money to generate profit for itself," it added.