Álvaro Viegas is the new president of Algarve retailers’ association ACRAL, taking over from man-at-the-top Vítor Guerreiro.
Promising to fight “for more financial support for local businesses and reduction in motorway toll prices”, 52-year-old Viegas has already held the post in 1999-2002.
A former law graduate, Viegas has represented PSD party as an Algarve MP between 1987-91, 1991-95 and 2002-05.
He was the only candidate in the running for ACRAL’s presidency and ended up with 96% of votes.
In his acceptance speech in Faro on Tuesday (March 15), Viegas outlined his goals, including the revival of the region’s ‘Sistema Colectivo de Segurança’ (SCS), launched in 2000 linking Algarve businesses to GNR police, allowing them rapid access to help in emergencies, including “break-ins or fires”.
As Viegas explained, the network supported over 1,000 businesses and he wants to revive it, and extend the service to the Algarve’s PSP force.
Viegas said he will also be appealing for a “new programme to support local businesses and help them renovate outlets” to give them more chances of competing with major shopping centres that have opened or are due to open in the Algarve.
And he stressed he will be gunning for a 50% reduction in toll prices on the constant thorn-in-the-side of the Algarve’s economy – the A22 motorway – as well as more discounts and exemptions in paid parking areas.
Another matter on Viegas’ agenda is a new project entitled ‘Algarve Exportador’ designed to help companies export to Spain, France, England and Germany.
Finally, he said he wants the association to “improve its communication with associates” and work more closely with the media to present its views about “all issues relating to businesspeople and their companies”.
As Victor Guerreiro stands down after three years, he is due to continue with ACRAL in the new position of chairman of the board.