“Nothing justifies such an increase in 2023”
PM António Costa was in his element in Covilhã yesterday, telling the party faithful that there is no way his government is prepared to authorise the request by motorway concession holders Brisa and Ascendi to increase tolls by 10.44%.
Beset by political ‘crises’ and increasing criticism, Mr Costa found in this issue a moment to shine unreservedly. “Nothing would justify an increase of 10% in the price of tolls in 2023”, he told the gathering – insisting that even the contracts signed, which allow for increases indexed to inflation, should be discounted on the basis that this year’s inflation level is “absolutely exceptional”, and hasn’t been seen “in 30 years”.
Authorising such a request “would deeply penalise the functioning of the economy and Portuguese families”, he said – thus Brisa and Ascendi will be getting a firm “no”.
How the government’s answer plays out in light of the contracts in existence however remains to be seen.
The PM also used the occasion yesterday to say the government will also not tolerate excessive profits in the food sector, hence the 33% extraordinary tax to be imposed this year and in 2023 on companies registering profits of 20% above the average for the last four years.
The extraordinary tax, also being levied on the energy sector, will be used to fund support measures for the most vulnerable, he said.