Mário Centeno

State budget gets presidential ‘seal’ but ‘may end up having to change’ due to pandemic

For now, the State Budget 2020 has passed all stages of approval necessary, though Finance Minister Mário Centeno has stressed the government may have to bring in a rectifying budget if the need arises.

“This year is an enormous challenge”, he told assembled journalists after an hour-long meeting with President Marcelo in the Palace of Belém.

But for now focus has to be on “actions to overcome the sanitary crisis caused by the new coronavirus” for which he called for “the responsibility of everyone”, so that “we can make this a temporary, contained moment and return to normality as soon as possible”.

Stressing that any thoughts of him leaving his role to take over at the Bank of Portugal in the summer (as planned) have to be put on hold as the country wages war on Covid-19.

“I insist that our behaviour this week will depend on whether we reach the peak of this outbreak, as authorities predict, between April 9-14. If their forecast is correct, we can from then on expect a reduction in the number of cases and stabilisation of the sanitary situation which will give us the possibility to return to normality in the next three month period”, he said.

Centeno admitted the government iworking with ‘projected scenarios’, but says they will only materialise dependant on “our action. There are no certainties when it comes to scenarios, but if we don’t act together, not even these scenarios will transpire”, he added.

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