Finance minister clarifies TAP capital injection differences

  • Lusa
  • 27 April 2022

"What is foreseen from the point of view of the budget is that the injection into TAP, which is included in the budget, may occur up to the amount of €990 million," said Portugal's finance minister.

Portugal’s finance minister said on Tuesday the difference between the injection of €600 million in TAP and the authorisation of €990 million in the 2022 budget results from the difference between public and national accounting, adding that there was no inconsistency.

“What is foreseen from the point of view of the budget is that the injection into TAP, which is included in the budget, may occur up to the amount of €990 million. What is referred to concerning the sum of €600 million is the impact that, if this injection of €990 million were to occur, it would have on public accounts, on a national basis,” Finance Minister Fernando Medina said on Tuesday, maintaining that “there is no inconsistency between the figures.

The finance minister is being heard on Tuesday in the Budget and Finance Committee (COF) as part of the general appraisal of the 2022 budget proposal after being been confronted by the difference in figures relating to TAP, with PSD back-bencher Miranda Sarmento and Carla Castro of the Liberal Initiative, questioning the fact that the budget proposal provides for an expenditure authorisation of up to €900 million for TAP on a public accounting basis (cash basis) when the financial support forecast (on a national accounting basis, which works on a commitment basis) is €600 million.

This discrepancy had been pointed out by the Technical Unit for Budgetary Support (UTAO) in the report accompanying the draft budget, when it indicated that the airline would benefit in 2022 from the last tranche of financial support included in the state support approved by the European Commission, within the scope of the company’s restructuring.

“The value of this last tranche indicated therein is €600 million. However, the limit authorised for this operation, contained in the SIGO budgetary database, is €990 million,” UTAO technicians warned.

This Tuesday, Fernando Medina clarified that the difference between the amounts lies between public accounting and national accounting, stressing that “part of this sum has already been accounted for in the public deficit” of previous years.

“This is just an accounting difference between public accounting and national accounting. There is no inconsistency, there is no risk here,” he said, stressing that the amount in the 2022 budget “is the maximum limit, provided for in the restructuring plan” and that the impact it may have [in public accounting, which is relevant to Brussels in calculating the deficit] is up to €600 million.

The 2022 budget is up for the first reading on April 28 and 29, culminating the debate with a vote on the document in general terms.

The committee debate begins on May 2, with the hearings of various ministers and other entities, and proposals for amendments may be submitted on May 13.

The discussion of the document in the plenary session will begin on May 23 and continue throughout the week – with debate in the morning and voting in the afternoon, as usual.

The final overall vote is scheduled for May 27, the day before the direct elections of the PSD, in which the successor of the current president, Rui Rio, will be chosen.