Parliament is to debate three projects on Wednesday to ban the distribution of dividends by banks, large companies and economic groups.
Portugal’s parliament is to debate three projects on Wednesday to ban the distribution of dividends by banks, large companies and economic groups due to the Covid-19 pandemic, but they are expected to be rejected.
On Tuesday, the Socialist party announced that it will vote against in Thursday’s session, repeating the vote on a project with the same objective, on April 8, presented by the Left Block that was turned down by most parties.
In declarations to Lusa, the Socialist vice-president João Paulo Correia said that the socialists are against because the projects represent “a generalisation of the prohibition” in the “distribution of dividends”.
He exemplified that the companies that have resorted to temporary layoff “are already banned” (there are around 100,000) and for the banking sector there is also guidance from the Bank of Portugal and the insurance and pension funds authority that such a distribution should not be made, so that there is “a small set” of companies that could do it.
In the draft, the communists recall that the Bank of Portugal recommended to the banks, in a notice of April 1, “not to distribute dividends for the financial years 2019 and 2020 until at least 1 October 2020”, and they advocate that this guideline “should not stop with this recommendation”.
António Costa was questioned on the matter and refused the idea, saying: “We have imposed a ban on dismissals and a ban on the distribution of dividends to those we support, be it companies that benefit from layoffs or lines of credit. For the rest of the economy, we should try to disrupt as little as possible the functioning of the economy and what are legitimate expectations’.
At the beginning of April, in parliament, it was the president of the PSD, Rui Rio, who made an appeal to the “common sense” of banks, adding a warning to the banks, which received state aid during the 2011 crisis.
“If the banks present huge profits in 2020 and 2021, these profits will be a shame and ingratitude to the Portuguese people,” he said in a debate on the extent of the state of emergency in the country, in which he said he hoped the banks would pay “the Portuguese what they gave so much.