It’s the new plan – now that the deficit for 2016 has truly been pegged as the lowest in Portugal since the country became a democracy in 1974. PS leaders are reported to be planning “a series of measures” that reduce the deficit even further (by 699 million euros, to just 1% by 2018), and believe one of the many “positive” effects will be the creation of 150,000 new jobs by 2019.
‘People’s tabloid’ Correio da Manhã put the job creation percentage as 1.3% this year, followed by 1% in both 2018 and 2019.
The forecasts are set out in the PS “Stability and Growth Programme” which President Marcelo is due to discuss with all parties from Monday (April 17).
A large portion of the €699 million will come from “extraordinary contributions” from the banking, energy and pharmaceutical sectors.
Says CM, banks are expected to pay into the State €187 million next year. The energy sector’s extraordinary contributions will come to €120 million, and pharmaceutical companies will be stumping up €14 million.
“Everything totted up means that these extraordinary contributions will come to €321 million.
The remaining €139 million is due via “more taxes and social security contributions entering public coffers due to civil servants’ career progressions”, adds the paper – stressing that the ‘masterplan’ is to get to 2020 with no public deficit at all.
As to spending cuts, these are being set at €238 million in ‘liquid terms’ this year, says CM, with the government “hoping” that families’ disposable income will increase by more than 3% by the end of the legislature (2019).
It is an upbeat plan that only a year ago appeared as unlikely as the United States of America electing Donald Trump as its 45th president.
Talking in Lousã as the country clocked off for a three-day-long Easter weekend, Bloco de Esquerda coordinator Catarina Martins said it was a clear indication that “Portugal wins when it is not submissive” to the whims of Brussels’ moneymen.
“What we need to know is that we are creating conditions in the economy for those that live and work here”, she said.
“Portugal wins when it thinks about the needs of its populations more than it thinks about approval from Brussels”.
MAJORITY OF JOBS WILL BE CREATED IN PRIVATE SECTOR
The plan involves luring investment from as many quarters as possible – and thus the majority of jobs created will be in the private sector, says CM.
João Vieira Lopes, president of workers’ confederation CCP, says union bosses still have to read the smallprint on the Stability and Growth Programme to evaluate whether it really is achievable.
“Any economist will tell you that a country needs to grow more than 2% to create employment, and if that is the case, it would not have been possible to create the jobs that the country generated recently.
“Thus we cannot only look at the documents”, he stressed – suggesting everything rests on the type of investment that Portugal manages to attract. And that will only become clear as the year progresses.
Photo: Talking to journalists on Friday, finance minister Mário Centeno said the deficit of 2.1% of GDP confirmed for 2016 is a “victory of the country, not just of the government”.