Opposition calls for lower taxes to boost investment
The leader of Portugal’s centre-right opposition party, the PSD, called for a simplification of Portugal’s complicated tax laws to encourage overseas investment.
Addressing a select number of business people at the American Club of Lisbon on Wednesday, Rui Rio, a one-time Mayor of Porto and wanna-be prime minister, said that a less complicated tax legislation was badly needed to help companies while adding that private consumer spending should not be the driver of the Portuguese economy which, in his opinion, was down to exporting SMEs.
“Our tax burden is overwhelming and has already passed the red line. Anyone serious knows perfectly well that it’s not by clicking your fingers that the tax burden is lowered just because you want it to be” said Rui Rio.
“The worst of it is that we’ve actually got to this bad state of affairs now and it will take time to get things back on an even keel to where they should be,” added the PSD party leader.
The seasoned politician whose party was wiped out in the European Elections – often seen as a bell-weather for national elections — presides over a divided party over the question of Europe.
But on taxation he was clear: “There has to be a genuine reduction in the tax burden and our tax system has to be redirected for investment attraction with the creation of a less complicated tax legislation with SMEs in mind,” he said.
Rio also pointed to Portugal’s huge public and overseas balance of payments debt which need to be reduced which could only be achieved through exports and investment and not consumer spending.
“Consumer spending is not the driver for growth; it is what is desirable only as the outcome of growth from buoyant exports,” he said.