Dear Editor,
Your headline in the September 5 edition of the Algarve Resident summarizes Portugal’s problems in five words – ‘Fines, fines and more fines’.
Few would deny that there is a black economy, witness the high number of Mercedes, BMWs and high-end Audis on our roads.
However, perhaps the question which needs to be asked is why?
Any one who has tried to run a business of any sort here has to overcome a system of bureaucracy, which is a burden that most can ill afford. A business is to make money and create wealth, not to fill in a constant flow of forms. I believe that the number of people employed by the government, either directly or indirectly is approaching 60%. This is including all the auxiliary services such as police, doctors and teachers. This is a burden which the other 40% of ‘wealth generators’ cannot support.
To employ more and more tax inspectors is self defeating. Is it any wonder that so many young qualified people are leaving the country for better opportunities abroad? Is it any surprise that people ‘fiddle’ when taxes are so punitive?
What is needed is a system that encourages new businesses, not tries to fine them for any minor infraction of the constantly changing law.
Norman Thompson, by email
Quinta dos Álamos, Guia