CIP reports that half the nation's privately owned companies believed the impact of Brussels' bazooka would be minimal, if noticeable at all, on their economic activity

EU funding bazooka cold-shoulders private enterprise

Portugal’s business confederation dubs situation “ridiculous”

The great EU funding ‘bazooka’ is freezing out private enterprise.

Depending on which news reports one reads, public entities are either receiving “11 times more money than private companies” (Correio da Manhã Observatory today), or even more.

ECO online, for example, says “of the €16 billion coming from the PRR (Plan for Recovery and Resilience) only €9 million have gone towards projects promoted by private enterprise. Public companies have received more than €700 million”.

ECO’s article was compiled from declarations by the vice president of Portugal’s business federation (CIP), Armindo Monteiro, last Monday; CM’s from consultation of the PRR site yesterday.

Whichever angle one takes, public companies are getting a much easier ride.

Said Monteiro, of the ‘cake’ coming Portugal’s way (cake meaning pile of money), “a third is destined for private companies, meaning around €5 billion. But of this €5 billion only €262 million were approved up till (last Monday), and only €9 million has been paid”.

Since those comments, and according to CM, another €2 million must have been paid.

But if one sets it against the more than €700 million in approved projects for public entities, and €400 million paid, it is clear which sector is benefitting.

“The lion’s share of this funding has been allocated to State initiatives”, said Armindo Monteiro, presenting a new inquiry by the CIP showing how many private companies (84%) see State support / any support being insufficient.

The PRR was devised to help business ‘recover’ and go on to be resilient following the Covid-19 pandemic –  but the upshot of the programme appears to be that private companies have seen less than 1% of promised aid materialise.

It is “ridiculous”, says Monteiro, and clearly shows “there is a completely different approach to public entities”.

CIP is calling for an “urgent solution” and “guarantees it will be questioning the government” on why projects put forwards by private enterprise are taking so much longer than anything put up by public concerns, says CM.

Carrying a ‘special’ focus on this subject today, the paper runs an editorial alongside headlined “Glutton State”, warning: “Public managers are seated at the PRR high table and already half way through the banquet. If this goes on and nothing is done to redress the balance, the PRR will just be a new instrument to accentuate the historic imbalance that marks this country: a State increasingly fatter ruling over and voraciously consuming private initiative and civil society, which will accentuate dependence on favours and ‘little bits of help’. 

“Portugal will continue to be a project delayed…”

natasha.donn@portugalresident.com