State owes 1.5 billion euros to private entities

PORTUGUESE STATE sector accumulated debts to private companies and organisations topped 1.5 billion euros by December 2005.

The state’s total non-financial borrowing owed for goods and services were revealed by the Tribunal de Contos (TC), the audit department of the exchequer, who had collected information from 546 public entities.

Of that total, 65.9 per cent alone was accumulated by the Serviço Nacional de Saúde (SNS), the Portuguese national health service a large slice of which is owed to multinational pharmaceutical companies.

President of the TC, Guilherme de Oliveira Martins, recently announced that state debts to third parties will now have to be re-evaluated with a view to publishing a list of its creditors for 2005-2006.

Of the 1.5 billion non-financial total accumulated debt, 711 million euros represents overdue debt that should have been paid on or before December 31, 2005.

The figure, according to the TC, could be the tip of the iceberg since it did not include all of the state’s non-financial debts in the public administration sector, particularly those companies owed less than 5,000 euros.

Included in the list of creditors, TC listed all private and public sector companies owed monies by central administration, public organisations and institutions, as well as ministries and services.

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