Down with bureaucracy!

THE PORTUGUESE government is taking huge steps to reduce bureaucracy in our society. Over the past few months, many of you might have heard about SIMPLEX, which is a package of measures to reduce bureaucracy in the Central Administration. Other actions aimed at slimming down procedures and avoiding certain jobs and tasks being duplicated by government departments are also being implemented, in order to substantially reduce the existing high administration costs.

The measures being introduced will also allow businesses and individuals to take care of their affairs more easily. I think the problem is not the approval of many different laws, but the application of the procedures in practice.

For example, currently, a company doesn’t have to have a different identification number for the Finanças (tax office) and for the Conservatória (registry office) – it is the same. However, properties still have different numbers for each service, and the government intends to bring this in line with companies.

But the problem does not only relate to identification numbers. There is also the problem of defining land boundaries and the respective owners. There is still land with no owner, or which is ‘owned’ by people who have already died. There is also land registered in the wrong owner’s name. Not so long ago, a person would buy a property on a handshake. Naturally, this kind of business behaviour has contributed to the current situation, but we must be the ones to take the first step in order to clarify what is certified and if our possessions are correctly registered.

The government is developing a national system for identifying and controlling all properties, called SINERGIC. This system is being developed to create a unique database of all properties. It also aims to offer accurate information concerning all land boundaries and ownership of properties. In doing this, comprehensive information will be available by quoting just one identification number.

The SINERGIC system will permit computerised management of all property and land information. Naturally, that management system will afford full access to all government departments. Also, SINERGIC will be able to offer owners information quickly. However, updating all the information will take time, and we may have to wait a few months before it is ready.

To summarise, all property owners must take care of these matters, and should be alerted to all changes with regard to the formal identification of their properties. Make sure you have everything in order, as you are also part of the process and will probably be requested to contribute information.

• Pedro Simões can be contacted by Tel 219 205 225, Fax 219 264 153, mobile 914 742 178 or via e-mail [email protected]. Visit