Businesspeople “very frustrated by state of country” present manifesto for Portugal's recovery

Businesspeople “very frustrated by state of country” present manifesto for Portugal’s recovery

Business Roundtable Portugal aims to see 3.9% growth per year

A group of businesspeople described as “very frustrated by the state of the country” has presented a manifesto today with several measures it believes “essential to encourage growth in the Portuguese economy”. 

The Business Roundtable Portugal association believes that “with the right changes, we can begin to free the country from this feeling of disillusionment and frustration and give the Portuguese back the desire to create and invest and, above all, the hope of a better life”.

According to the group, if European countries continue to grow in line with the European average between 2000 and 2022, “Portugal will have to grow by 3.9% a year to reach 15th place in 2043” – something they consider to be “the collective goal“.

This is a group that came together two years ago, and is made up of 42 of the largest companies in Portugal.

Personalities involved include Vasco de Mello (president of the board of the José de Mello group), António Rios de Amorim (CEO of the Amorim cork empire), Claúdia Azevedo (CEO of Sonae) and Nuno Amado, chairman of Millennium BCP

Among appeals contained in the manifesto are calls for less bureaucracy – a critical condition “to accelerate investment and the country’s development”.

When it comes to justice, the group calls for urgent action “on the slowness of administrative and fiscal justice” in resolving conflicts “between the State and the rest of society” – pointing out that there is between “5% and 7% of the country’s GDP pending” in the courts.

In this regard, they are also calling for the scope of the Administrative Arbitration Centre (CAAD) to be widened.

The manifesto refers to investment in recent years not being enough for growth and wealth creation arguing that dynamising this could involve rehabilitating the public-private partnership model and redirecting European funds “towards companies that generate value.

“It is essential to ensure that 70% of PT2030 goes to companies which drive wealth creation,” they explain.

Taxes are another area where changes are needed: “We should take advantage of the growth in Social Security revenues – which results from the greater number of workers and the growth in wages – to review the system and reduce the penalisation of labour,” they say.

In the case of Social Security, in order to guarantee future sustainability, the group is calling for young people to be matched with the Non-Habitual Residents scheme, with a “flat rate of IRS (personal income tax) and reduced social security for 10 years” as well as the resumption of NHR “for highly qualified professionals”.

With the aim of promoting the growth and scale of national companies, Business Roundtable Portugal calls for the removal of what it describes as “disincentives”, such as corporate income tax and legal and regulatory obligations.

Addressing a simplification of the corporate income tax system, reducing the nominal rate and bringing it closer to the effective rate, while safeguarding incentives for investment and research and development, the association believes the “three cardinal sins” of the tax system would be tackled.

“Is it possible? We believe it is. We need to have more ambition for the country”, Pedro Ginjeira Nascimento secretary-general of the association tells Visão

“The most important thing for us is that these issues are debated. We’re open to talking and presenting the manifesto to the parties that are interested. We’ve already had a meeting. We don’t have the arrogance to think that we alone have the answers (…) These measures are political, not ideological,” he said. ND

Sources: Lusa/ Visão