Competitiveness for future

The government has launched a Magna Carta for Competitiveness. The challenge sets out 10 corporate strategies and 10 public policy measures to make Portugal one of the 10 best countries for investment in Europe within 10 years. Target delivery or non-delivery will be measured against a battery of 40 indicators for which political leaders will be held to account.

These indicators include production costs, public expenditure, implementing an IT society, transportation, environment and energy, investment, productivity and education. The indicators equal those implemented in Ireland, the UK and the US for similar programmes.

Economy Minister Carlos Tavares hopes that Portugal will achieve this EU-10-best status “in just five years”. The Portuguese Industrial Association (AIP) says the focus should be on “developing an idea for the country and a strategy, occupying no more than a single A4 page, defining Portugal’s vision. Lack of such a strategy is one reason why, although Portugal has attracted the largest volume of investment in all Europe, this has had no impact on productivity. And why one of the EU’s highest levels of expenditure on education, in terms of GDP, has produced no visible results”.

A government spokesman said that the Programme for Productivity and Economic Growth was designed to eliminate the structural causes underlying the productivity deficit. Key strategy aspects include improving the value of human resources, moving up the value chain, priority for the dynamics of competitiveness, investment in innovation, distribution and branding, and differentiating Portuguese output in a competitive world.