Portugal is one of the countries that is least investing in responding to the crisis, believes

A few years ago, Finance Minister Mário Centeno discovered the country, there was a discussion in which he gave a touch of grace. When Centeno was asked about the shackles he had made in executing the budget to a value far beyond what had ever existed, he resorted to poetry. Citing Camões, he spoke of the “prisoner who holds me captive” who tried to kill the subject with a scientific joke in the hope that from now on the subject would be treated with eye to eye.

Centeno left the government, João Leão kept budgetary constraints, but the magic box in the Treasury remained the same. There was slight hope that an extraordinary situation in the country could lead to mixed results, after all, the pandemic led to the most sudden economic recession we have ever faced. But over the months, the old policy continued to rule the Ministry of Finance: there were a lot of promises, the measures presented in catadupa, but then everything in the ministry was tied. Support for the self-employed, layoff payments, changes in the rules of unemployment benefit or unemployment benefit, support for the economy: nothing escaped in time, arrived late and in a short time.

The untold story of the failed budget negotiations between the government and the Left Bloc contributes significantly to this statement. There were clear signs that the government was not delivering what it had previously agreed without ever delivering what was promised due to spending constraints, delay in results, and multiple pledges of promise. And he insisted that there was no money for proposals that were (and are) perfectly common sense in times of economic contraction. Now we know the dimension between what was agreed in 2020 and what was actually achieved: € 6,866 million, almost € 7 billion. The difference between government spending and planned spending is equal to an annual Ministry of Education budget – a full year of public school. There is no economic strategy that can withstand this policy of capture and garrote in the execution of the budget.

At the start of 2020, nobody imagined the coming year, the arrival of the pandemic and its economic and social impact. For this reason, when the government asked Parliament to increase the budget by submitting the supplementary budget, it had this support. But after a year of this economic devastation and the problems facing families, the economy and public services, no one understands how the expenditure originally earmarked in the state budget was not even spent, let alone what was foreseen in the supplement. Strict government is not what the country needs to get out of the crisis.

Hasn’t there been any investment in the NHS or in schools? Were there no workers in need of support? Wasn’t there someone who needed help paying the rent or daily bills?

Why did the government go to implement this 7 billion euros? Wasn’t there an investment in public school or the NHS? Weren’t there any unemployed workers who needed support? Weren’t there people who said they needed help paying the rent? Children already have computers and internet access. Didn’t they have to prepare for the school year?

With the budget implementation presented, Portugal ranked third among the countries with less spending on combating the crisis. Is the crisis in Portugal less? Are companies more capitalized? Has tourism, reduced to almost zero in our country, been less expressive than in the rest of Europe? Have social inequalities and poverty not increased?

With João Leão’s decisions, we remain in the group of OECD countries that have made the fewest additional expenditures to strengthen health care systems. Was the pandemic in Portugal less?

Hasn’t there been any investment in the NHS or in schools? Were there no workers in need of support? Wasn’t there someone who needed help paying the rent or daily bills?

Those who do not fight the crisis, exacerbate it, give it room to grow. It is incomprehensible to the government to do so.