Top economists meet to discuss public finances

LEADING Portuguese economists remain cautious and reserved about Portugal’s chances of improving its public finances after the February 20 election. At a meeting of the Order of Economists held recently in Estrela, members met to officially approve the election of their new dean, Dr. Murteira Nabo.

During the ceremony, Dr. Murteira Nabo, former president of Portugal Telecom, admitted that Portugal had, as yet, “failed to find a national economic plan at a macroeconomic level as well as to resolve many problems at a microeconomic level”.

The Order has as members exalted names such as Vítor Constâncio, Governor of the Bank of Portugal, Ernãni Lopes, César das Neves, Teodora Cardoso and João Ferreira do Amaral. Among the prevailing opinions of the country’s top economists, César das Neves believes the issue of public finances is “bearing down on the political parties”, while Ernãni Lopes thinks that “economic progress can only be viable with the concerted efforts of the political parties wanting the best for the country”.

Dr. Nabo warned, pessimistically, that if the various political parties failed to reach some kind of consensus and put “petty party squabbles” behind them, the country’s economic situation would continue to get worse. Dra. Teodora Cardoso said she wasn’t optimistic that the parties could work together for the common good, while Dr. Ferreira do Amaral thought that the idea of a public finance pact, through cross party co-operation, was “positive” because it is a matter that goes above party politics.

The Order of Economists’ main objectives for the next three years are to raise standards of excellence within the profession and find ways of improving the country’s economic fortunes. In order to achieve this, the organisation wants to have a more active role in the country’s universities and colleges to promote excellence in teaching students company management and economics. The Order also aims to raise its profile nationally and increase membership, create partnerships with other business institutions, and promote sound and innovative management practices within Portugal’s businesses and companies.

• Also read Gabriel Hershman’s article ‘Economic recovery will be slow’ on page 7.