Growth of 2% insufficient says business association head
The Government’s GDP growth rates of 1.7-2% have been downplayed by the President of the Portuguese Industrial Confederation.
Speaking at a lunch in Lisbon organised by the International Club of Portugal on Thursday, António Saraiva said that in reality Portugal’s economy has “not grown much” in recent years and called the country’s economic growth “anaemic”.
“We’ve got to be more ambitious and get the country growing at over 3% per annum instead of being content with 1%, 1.2% or 2% which simply isn’t enough” he told movers and shakers at the lunch.
“Let’s not fool ourselves. This anaemic growth we have been seeing of 1.5% or 2% is not enough,” he said.
“We will not solve our structural problems (in Portugal) with the growth that we’re seeing and with these growth levels it shows we are not being ambitious enough and we need concrete measures in this sense,” Saraiva added.
“We can’t accept such small ambitions and settle for these small amounts, we’ve got to be more ambitious, we’ve done it in the past, obviously under different conditions, but the country has to raise the bar, so the challenge for the country is to increase our growth to over 3%,” said António Saraiva.
By the past, António Saraiva was referring to some years in the 1960s and two years in the 1990s in which the Portuguese economy enjoyed spectacular growth levels of up to 10% compared to an accumulated growth of 10% seen over 18 years between 2000 and 2018.
Saraiva stressed the importance of a stable and predictable tax regime that was necessary in order to attract sustained long-term investment.
In a nod to equally sluggish growth in Europe and Portugal’s strong reliance on exports to EU partners such as Spain, the UK, Germany and France, the business sector leader stressed the importance of Portuguese companies diversifying their exports worldwide.
“Much of what we export, around 75% of our exports, go to EU markets just like a company cannot rely on just once client, Portugal cannot depend on one geographical region (EU) which is what our companies have been doing” he said.