CIP slams salary increases
António Saraiva, president of the Confederation of Portuguese Business (CIP)

Portugal’s RRP plan “not going well”

The president of Portugal’s business confederation CIP, António Saraiva says that the recent resignation of the woman who was leading the National Agency for Innovation is a sign that the execution of Portugal’s Recovery and Resilience Programme (RRP) is “not going well”.

Joana Mendonça resigned from the ANI (Agência Nacional de Inovação) recently after being in the post since July 2021.

António Saraiva who is standing down as the president of CIP (Portuguese Business Confederation) after 12 years at the helm representing Portuguese enterprises, also left a parting shot to the government in his last annual letter sent to business leaders, saying that 2023 “had begun on the wrong foot” and that the government, which had “all the advantages of benefitting from an absolute majority”, was itself a “factor for instability and uncertainty”, a situation that was neither “acceptable nor reasonable”.

On the RRP funds from the EU’s ‘bazooka’, António Saraiva said there was a perception that the “RRP is not contributing to economic recovery” and that companies “were bewildered as to why they had only received 23% of the €23 billion of (total) EU funding”, since it had the “potential to contribute decisively to (Portugal’s) development”.

Joana Mendonça, an academic who taught Innovation Management at Lisbon’s Higher Technical Institute (Instituto Superior Técnico), was the first woman to head the ANI institution.

She had been an advisory assistant to the Ministry of the Economy and Innovation in 2016 with a long and prestigious career behind her as a researcher and director of various institutions.

In her resignation letter sent to the Minister of Science, Technology and Higher Education, Elvira Fortunato, and the Minster for the Economy and Sea, António Costa Silva, Joana Mendonça said that “that the conditions for her to carry on in the post are not in place” because of a growing difficulty in receiving guidance from the ministry, namely in matters of crucial importance to the agency”. In other words, she wasn’t getting sufficient support from the government.