Portugal's Economy minister, Manuel Caldeira Cabral, identified two structural problems and five opportunities for the Portuguese economy.
“Portugal has had, for the past ten years, an exports performance which surpasses Germany’s”, stated the Economy minister Caldeira Cabral, this Friday, in the Portugal, from here to where? conference, in Lisbon. It is certain that the country started off at a much lower point, but it had a rapid evolution, stated the minister. This is only one of the five opportunities Caldeira Cabral pinpoints for the Portuguese economy’s growth.
Caldeira Cabral aligned “two important structural problems” Portugal has, and “five opportunities we should take advantage of”.
Concerning problems, the minister highlighted “debt and demography”. As an answer the surplus of indebtedness, the governor highlighted the Capitalizar programme (‘Capitalize‘) and the “financing taxation measures”, the “instruments for small enterprises accessing capital markets” and the “restructuring instruments”. As for the Portuguese demographics, he recognized it is “important and will have effects both in Social Security and in economic growth of the Portuguese economy”.
Answering these structural issues, Manuel Caldeira Cabral pinpointed five opportunities:
- Qualifications: “Although Portugal has a falling birth rate, we are replacing a 60+ generation for a younger generation with different levels of qualification”, the minister explained. “The generation of people between 25 and 35 are as qualified as, for example, the German population”, he pleaded. This generation entered the labor market amid a large international crisis and has had little opportunity to demonstrate its potential, Caldeira Cabral stated, adding the importance of allowing that young generation to make a difference.
- Judicial system: Portugal needs to “change the way the judicial system works, making it more agile and faster”, stated the minister, underlining it is an area where the country “has potential to improve”.
- Energy: Portugal is a net importer of energy, underlined the minister. “The fact that Portugal is nowadays a country which lacks energy is only a matter of technology”, he assured, highlighting that “200 million euros of solar power” have been raised without any subsidy. “Over the next few decades, Portugal could become a country with plenty of energy”, Caldeira Cabral stated, emphasizing that it is a “structural deficit which can be corrected”.
- Innovation: “One of the major challenges is to improve the innovation system”, stated Caldeira Cabral. For that aim, the minister highlights the Interface Programme, which aims to reinforce the bridge between companies and universities.
- Internationalization: The minister believes Portugal has high quality companies, in which exports have bee growing for the past decades. “Portugal’s exports had a better performance than Germany’s”, he stated. However, he acknowledged the fact that the Germany’s economy started off in a different level, “it began with a surplus and evolved to an ever larger surplus”.