THE PORTUGUESE government is planning to reduce its public administration spending by around 4,950 million euros, forcing up to 25 per cent, 75,000, of its public sector workers into early retirement.
Despite last week’s assurance from the Prime Minister that public sector jobs were secure, the European Union Commission has sent a strong signal to the PS government that it must get public sector spending under control if it is to stand any chance of meeting the three per cent Growth and Stability Pact in the future.
Brussels has said that between 2007 and 2010 Portugal must reduce its expenses by nearly five billion euros and, in order to do this, will have to retire or let go around 75,000 employees by 2009.
According to a study by the Minister of Finances on the characterisation of human resources in public administration, 177,067 public sector workers aged over 50 and 165,488 who left school without any qualifications are most at risk.
There are currently an estimated 737,774 public sector workers in the country.
João Ferreira do Amaral, Professor of Economics at the Instituto Superior de Economioa e Gestão (ISEG) said: “Cutting the number of public sector workers by 150,000 makes good sense saving five billion euros over the next four years.
“There could be some dismissals because the public sector is staffed by a lot of people nearing retirement anyway without the necessary skills or qualifications needed to run an efficient and modern civil service and public administration bureaucracy.”
Eduardo Catroga, former Cavaco Silva Finance Minister agreed with the analysis: “The reduction in public service employees can be done through natural wastage, retirement and by not taking on more staff unless they are extremely well qualified for a particular task.”
Do you have a view on this story? Email: [email protected]