THE PORTUGUESE are among the worst payers in the European Union, according to a survey that analysed 17 countries.
The study revealed that Portuguese companies are “dreadful” at paying their bills, taking, on average, 87.5 days to ‘cough up’. The European average, on the other hand, is around 61.2 days, according to Intrum Justicia.
The credit management service company that evaluates credit risks confirmed that the public sector took the longest to pay (87 days), followed by companies (34.2 days) and private service providers (22.6 days). From what past records seem to indicate, the situation in Portugal is getting worse with each successive year. In last October, the average time it took to pay a bill was 87.5 days, while in 2004 it took 85.3 days.
The report revealed that for a small and medium company with a business volume turnover of 25 million euros, a two-day delay can represent up to 150,000 euros in outstanding debts. The study concluded that the situation has negative consequences for the economy and employment market, adding that Portuguese companies often ignore initial requests for payment, waiting for the second or even third reminder before settling the account. It also concluded that the late payment situation continues in Portugal because the law is so inefficient and slow that suppliers and companies rarely make recourse to the courts.