António Costa kicks off “Closer Government” initiative
Portugal’s prime minister, António Costa, has said that economic indicators reinforce his conviction that the economy will grow more than initially forecast.
“There are better prospects for the European and world economy”, he told the first initiative under the “Closer Government” programme, which kicked off in Castelo Branco.
“This reinforces the conviction that we, this year, will not only grow as we had predicted, but we can grow more than predicted”.
António Costa based his optimism on the behaviour of the Portuguese economy in the resilience of the national business fabric, writes Lusa, “which has sustained the growth of the economy and the evolution of employment”, according to the PM.
The behaviour of companies during “difficult years” – first marked by the pandemic and then by the effects of the war in Ukraine and inflation – gives “confidence” about the future, he stressed.
The prime minister was talking at the iconic Dielmar clothing factory in Alcains forced into declaring insolvency in 2021 after more than €8 million in government support.
Last year, the Valérius company decided to invest in Dielmar, which is already operating normally.
“A group invested, restructured and revived the company”, stressed Mr Costa. 2022 “was a year of enormous uncertainty marked by war”, but even in the face of this adverse scenario, “the value of Portuguese exports exceeded 50% of GDP“.
“Of course, most of the component has to do with services and tourism, but a huge component – a growing component – has to do with work in the industry sector,” he said.
Throughout this first “Closer Government” initiative – ongoing still today – the PM will be visiting companies, public services and meeting with regional mayors, with a meeting of the Council of Ministers scheduled for later today where issues relating to the interior will be on the table, writes Lusa.
According to the prime minister, an assessment will be made of the application of the programme of enhancement of the interior, launched in 2017, and which has already counted an investment of almost €6.5 billion and 34,000 jobs created.
At the Cabinet meeting, a progress report on forest reform will also be made, as well as on the Serra da Estrela development plan, whose working group has already been created.
For António Costa, this process of enhancement of the interior “is a project that does not end”.
“The weakening of the interior regions was a process that took decades. We have had 50 years with the interior falling. It is not in two, three or four years that you turn this around”, he admitted.