Pedro Dominguinhos, president of the National Commission for RRP Monitoring
Pedro Dominguinhos, president of the National Commission for RRP Monitoring Photo: BRUNO FILIPE PIRES/OPEN MEDIA GROUP

Algarve on track to complete “all” EU-funded investments in time

All projects in the Algarve financed by the Recovery and Resilience Plan (RRP) – the plan created to put European funds to good use – are following their deadlines.

This was the assurance made by Pedro Dominguinhos, the president of the National Commission for RRP Monitoring, as he spoke to reporters on Friday, February 17 after a visit to the HUBEL Agronomic Engineering facilities in Olhão.

One of his goals was to assure populations in the Algarve that the funds will not be wasted.

“The Algarve has what I would call an anchor-investment related to water management which is ongoing, from the construction of a desalination plant to the retrieval of water from Pomarão,” said Dominguinhos, adding that around €200 million is available until 2025 for projects to improve the region’s water management.

The commission boss said that many of the projects are already at the stage of either launching environmental impact studies or tenders for construction.

“From what I see on the ground, things are going according to plan,” he said.

While Dominguinhos recalled that the desalination plant’s capacity is going to be larger than initially planned, which will have an “impact from a financial point of view”, he also explained that the plant can “be built in stages”, meaning that the investment can be carried out over time.

He also said that there are other projects being developed to help companies, charities (IPSS), health centres and families which, according to data published in the information system of Missão Recuperar Portugal, are worth “over €160 million”.

The commission president also praised the investments being made in “student residences, which hadn’t been carried out in years,” at the University of the Algarve.

Earlier that day, Dominguinhos also visited Albufeira where “social projects” are being developed from the construction of crèches to facilities for the elderly, he said.

Another piece of evidence that the RRP is already being carried out is the introduction of automatic medication dispensers at the Algarve University Hospital Board (CHUA), which means a safer and more efficient use of medication administered to patients, he explained.

The implementation of the RRP plan has come across a few stumbling blocks, he admitted.

Inflation has seen prices increase, which means projects may now cost more than originally anticipated.

Another subject tackled by the commission president was the long-promised ring road in Olhão.

“The outline has already been presented by Infraestruturas de Portugal (IP). This investment is within the programmed deadline in terms of its environmental impact study and is fulfilling the necessary steps. It’s a complex project; it will have seven roundabouts and will be completely fenced off to increase security so that pedestrians and animals do not interact with vehicles. This will be followed by the public tender period. It is a project that is duly planned, moving forward and will happen.”

His visit to the Algarve also included a meeting in Faro with representatives from over 40 entities, where he explained the current situation of the RRP and answered any questions about the plan’s implementation, as well as a meeting at the NERA business association headquarters in Loulé, where Dominguinhos learned more about some of the region’s biggest issues, such as the housing crisis and shortage of workers in the hotel and agriculture sectors.

“It’s no coincidence that over €2.7 billion of RRP funding is set aside for housing,” said Dominguinhos, adding that the Algarve is also blighted by “seasonality and a significant dependence on tourism”.

“It is important to find solutions within the scope of the plan,” he said.

Original article written by Bruno Filipe Pires for Barlavento newspaper.