‘Only a madman invests in Portugal’ – Forum for Competitiveness

  • Lusa
  • 22 July 2021

Forum for Competitiveness board member, Luís Todo Bom, referred on Wednesday that only "a madman invests in Portugal", condemning the "ordeal" with licensing and court delays.

Forum for Competitiveness board member, Luís Todo Bom said on Wednesday that only “a madman invests in Portugal”, condemning the “ordeal” with licensing and court delays, and criticised the “provincial fascination” for ‘startups’.

“The provincial fascination with ‘startup’ [companies with rapid economic growth potential], for me, has always been an enigma. ‘Startups’ don’t move the pointer. It is the big companies that innovate”, said Luís Todo Bom, in the recovery plan (PRR) debate: “Enhancing the effects of European funds on the national economy”, organised by the Forum for Competitiveness, which is being held at the Lisbon Congress Centre.

For the official, the investment in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) leads to “systematic poverty”, adding that it is only possible to have large companies in Portugal through foreign investment or through mergers and acquisitions of existing companies.

Present at the same session, the director of El Corte Inglés Portugal regretted that the country is among those with the best road infrastructures and that even so 26% of the Recovery and Resilience Plan (PRR) is earmarked for these investments.

“Portugal is the 8th country in the World Economic Forum with the best road infrastructure, but 26% of the RRP is dedicated to this type of investment. We have a deficit in private investment, yet only 20% is allocated, while Greece and Spain allocate 49% and 43% respectively,” said Alexandre Patrício Gouveia.

He stressed that there is no economic growth without investment, noting that Portugal, “year after year, has neglected the creation of favourable conditions for investment”.

On the other hand, he regretted that the country had earmarked over 14 billion euros for public spending, money that was no longer being applied to “investment and savings”.

With regard to net private investment, Patrício Gouveia noted that it had always been below the European Union average, and in 2011 it even became negative.

“This is fatal for a country that wants to grow. The investment we have is unbalanced because an important part is directed at construction and public works,” he added.

The PRR has an implementation period until 2026 and provides for a number of reforms and investments to boost economic growth.