The Portuguese prime minister explained that the budget gap found by his cabinet will be fought with the special tax and a programme of reduction in public expenditure
Pedro Passos Coelho, the Portuguese prime minister, spoke last weekend of the “colossal” hole found in the public finances, taking into account the documents presented by the former government led by José Sócrates, and assured that the budget gap will be dealt with cuts in public expenses.
A few days after stating in a private party meeting, that the cabinet found a “colossal divergence” between the public finances analysed by his cabinet and those presented by the previous government, Passos Coelho detailed that the gap is of “little over €2bn“, and “must be dealt with”, as was reported by weekly newspaper Expresso, and Diário Económico.
The government expects to warrant the needed funding with the already announced special tax and through an expense cutting programme, as prime minister Passos Coelho said that this hole will “have to be absorbed with the income taxes and the expense cuts, in order to ensure that the deficit target is accomplished until the end of the year”, stressing that the target will be met.
This year’s budget target is of 5.9% of GDP, as agreed under the bailout programme, in comparison with the 7.7% reported by the National Institute of Statistics, or INE, for the first quarter.
Expense cuts presented by the end of August
The awaited programme of cuts in the public expenditure, crucial under the agreement with the international lenders, will be announced in the next 30 days, said Passos Coelho, reaffirming what was stated by the minister of finance, Vítor Gaspar, last Thursday, when he presented the special tax plan.
Passos Coelho said that the government “needed time to prepare the budget and restructure the public sector in order to have additional savings.”