Portugal is one of the most advanced countries in implementing the RRP

Date:

Share post:

“Portugal is one of the five countries that have already received the money from the second payment request, and is therefore one of the countries that have progressed the most in the Plan”, said the Minister of the Presidency, Mariana Vieira da Silva, at the joint press conference with the Ministers of Economy and Maritime Affairs, António Costa Silva, and Environment and Climate Action, Duarte Cordeiro, on the conclusions of the Annual Report 2022 of the Monitoring Commission of the Recovery and Resilience Plan.

Mariana Vieira da Silva added that “we have verified 17% of the total of the milestones and objectives of the RRP,” which “means that 76% of Portugal’s total allocation is already available through notices or tenders, 72% of the total amount has already been approved and 1505 million euros, and 9% of the amount has already been paid.”

“We have never hidden the challenge that was to apply the RRP until 2026 in conjunction with the EU funds Portugal 2020 and Portugal 2030,” which means “increasing our capacity to execute public investments and European funds,” he said.

73 programs well and 15 late

The government has tried “at every moment to overcome the challenges or obstacles by taking measures, either in updating prices, or in simplifying contracting, or in simplifying licensing. And we will continue to do so, and the Monitoring Commission contributes to this effort,” he added.

The Minister also said that when the Monitoring Commission, “out of a total of 83 investments that the RRP has, identifies 15 that the government should look at more closely, it contributes to the government finding solutions to overcome the challenges that are identified.

Banco de Fomento

O Ministro da Economia e do Mar, António Costa Silva, disse que “um os problemas que a comissão identificou está relacionado com o Banco Português de Investimento”. “No fim de 2022 criámos todos as condições para a BPF poder operar, reforçando o capital em 250 milhões de euros para o BPF”. “Determinámos também a assessoria por um consultor externo sobre as condições em que o BPF operava (sistemas de controlo, de gestão, contabilidade …)”.

Em relação ao próximo pedido de desembolso “estamos concentrados nas Agendas Mobilizadoras para a Inovação e no programa Interface que são os que vão protagonizar as metas da próxima fase do PRR”, disse.

In the BPF, there are four major programs in operation: the strategic recapitalization, co-investment, Consolidar and Portugal Ventures Capital, representing 1300 million euros.

In these four programs, “533 million euros have been approved, corresponding to 41% of the allocation, and 333 million, corresponding to 26%, are being executed”, which, with co-investment, will make it possible to respond to part of the problem of undercapitalization of Portuguese companies, one of the major problems of the economy.

Noting that “the Commission has analyzed each program”, Costa Silva pointed out that “some are going very well, such as Consolidar, of 500 million, launched this year and whose expressions of interest exceed 1000 million, and in which we have already contracted 303 million”; and “Portugal Ventures Capital, of indirect investment to help start-up companies”.

The Commission’s criticism “refers mainly to the Strategic Capitalization Program, which deals with capital instruments different from those companies are used to, where the negotiation between the BPF, the co-investor and the entrepreneur can take time”. Nevertheless, “39 million operations have already been contracted and the program is gaining speed”.

Mobilization Agendas

In the mobilization agendas, “we have 23 signed and started, another 23 that will be completed in the coming days and 7 are missing, which have problems mainly related to the change in the initial scope of the projects. “We must start all these programs in the best conditions, because what is born crooked will be straightened late or never,” he stressed.

In the mobilization agendas, “we demand that there be a consortium agreement in which each company says what its contribution is, and a statement from the auditors on the situation of the companies, so that we avoid problems later,” he said.

In terms of payments, the government intends to move to paying 23% up front – the original plan was 13%. “91 million euros will be paid and by the beginning of March we will reach 187 million”.

“There will be financial and administrative control by the IAPMEI teams and technical and strategic control by the commission that ranked the proposals of the Mobilization Agendas. The recommendation to strengthen IAPMEI’s resources was implemented at the end of last year with 36 more people and some more will be recruited,” said the Minister.

Ministers of the Presidency, Mariana Vieira da Silva, of Economy and Sea, António Costa Silva, and of Environment and Climate Action, Duarte Cordeiro, on the 2022 RRP report, Lisbon, February 24, 2023 (photo: João Bica)
Ministers of the Presidency, Mariana Vieira da Silva, of Economy and Sea, António Costa Silva, and of Environment and Climate Action, Duarte Cordeiro, on the 2022 RRP report, Lisbon, February 24, 2023 (photo: João Bica)

Decarbonization of industry

Decarbonization “is one of the most important programs because it is about changing the energy and operational paradigm in which companies operate. We launched a program of 10 million euros for decarbonization roadmaps, we received 39 applications, 22 were selected, and the award of the 10 million has already been signaled to the consortiums.”

The first call for decarbonization was launched at the end of July and received 242 applications, which should have been analyzed and the results published at the end of the year. “It was not possible because this is a complex measure, due to the difficulty of measuring the decarbonization process of companies. We will rely on the companies, and it is they who will calculate the energy consumption and emissions per unit of production,” he said.

The second decarbonization notice “has 1605 applications, representing an investment of 758 million euros. They will be assigned, at the proposal of the Commission, to universities to carry out the evaluation and analysis.

“In digital commerce, a 55 million program, we received 187 applications, 168 were selected, and in the second phase we will select the 50 that will lead the digital districts program, there are no significant delays,” and “for the digital accelerators, a 25 million program, we have 7 consortiums scattered throughout the country to provide services to commerce companies,” Costa Silva also said.

Environment

The Minister of Environment and Climate Action, Duarte Cordeiro, said that “the recommendations of the Commission are fair educational and useful,” adding that in his areas of government, “of the 22 RRP projects, 16 were considered to be in line with the plan or in need of closer monitoring and 6 were considered to be of concern.”

“The 22 projects, representing 2.8 billion, have an expected execution of 25% for 2023, about 700 million,” he also said.

In the forestry sector, “the Commission considered the program Emparcelar para Ordenar to be in a worrying situation. Notifications were “launched and the level of execution was not as desired. “We are going to understand what bureaucratic constraints we had and simplify them in order to execute them more quickly and encourage land consolidation.

Energy efficiency

In energy efficiency, “the budget part of the Sustainable Buildings Program is fully executed, but we will look for additional funding to open a new tender.

In the other energy efficiency programs (Energy Efficiency Vouchers, Energy Efficiency of Public Administration and Services) “there are problems with the evaluation time and there are many badly instructed files, which makes the evaluation by the teams involving people from the Ministry and universities difficult.

In the public administration sector “there is money for all the applications”, but in the services sector “there is 40 million euros and the applications were for more than 100 million euros. We are speeding up the approval of applications and we are thinking about increasing the amount so that all those who are eligible have a financial framework,” he said.

“The energy efficiency vouchers to better insulate homes are not being taken up as expected. There is 130 million for 100,000 vouchers and 12,000 have been allocated and 4,000 have been discounted,” so “we will improve the program, eventually opening it to rental properties and not just homeowners, allocating more than one voucher per application and improving partnerships to get closer to the public. We are working to relaunch the program by the end of March,” the minister said.

In the field of green hydrogen and renewable gases, “we had considered only 60 million euros, but there were many more applications and we decided to extend the support to another 100 million euros to respond to all the applications. Last week we signed the contracts with the 25 consortia with approved projects and we expect to launch a new call for the remaining 80 million”.

Lisbon Metro

The critical evaluation project “was the Lisbon Metro line connecting Loures and Odivelas. There is a delay of one semester. We have an environmental impact study that was in public consultation until February 14th. If the EIA is approved, we will be able to start the tendering process for the works and rolling stock in the first half of 2023 and complete the works by the second half of 2026, towards the end of the RRP,” said Duarte Cordeiro.

The line had an initial cost estimate of “250 million and now has 390 million, due to the increase in the cost of materials and because the original project provided for a surface train and this project provides for several underground stations. For the missing amount, “the government wants the tender to be for the totality, securing the funding that is not foreseen in the RRP.

Computers in schools

The Minister of the Presidency also referred to “two other investments that are considered worrisome.

One is the supply of computers to schools. “The computers were purchased on time, but there are difficulties in delivering them to students and teachers. Receipt is voluntary and the delay is due to people not wanting to take the computer. The Ministry of Education is changing the term of responsibility of those who take the computer and is better informing the families,” he said.

“In the state budget there is a budget for repairs and in the decentralization package there are computer technicians in each municipality to help with repairs.

At the same time, “there are two programs underway to ensure that this distribution results in effective use. One is the pilot project for digital textbooks, which has been extended year after year, and the other is the pilot project so that the evaluation exams at the end of each cycle can be done digitally, and it is expected that by 2025 all exams can be done on these computers.

Housing

“Another investment identified in a worrying situation is housing, affected by inflation and lack of workers, and because the preparation period for projects is longer than desired. This is a very large program with a long preparation period. It was necessary to sign the local housing strategies with the municipalities, tender the projects, carry out the projects, tender the works and carry out the works,” he said.

The government “has approved measures such as updating prices or simplifying public procurement, and the housing package has simplification measures and a focus on model construction.

“At the beginning, there was an amount foreseen to build 26,000 houses, which is no longer enough due to inflation, and the government is considering using the part of the RRP loans to reinforce this program,” he continued.

Finally, Mariana Vieira da Silva mentioned that “a process of reprogramming of the RRP is underway with the European Commission, which several countries are doing, due to the fact that the plan was negotiated in a very different time, before the war. The reprogramming is to adapt it to the current situation. The reprogramming will be used for financial reinforcement and to refine the intermediate objectives,” he concluded.

Related articles

Carris workers with 90% adherence to partial strike

Carris workers have joined the partial strike, called this week to demand pay rises and a 35-hour working...

External surplus of the Portuguese economy rises 5.6 times until May to 2,683 ME

The Portuguese economy posted an external surplus of 2.683 billion euros up to May, 5.6 times the surplus...

Films by Cláudia Varejão and Luciana Fina join the Venice Film Festival

The films "Kora", by Cláudia Varejão, and "Sempre", by Luciana Fina, will be shown in the "Days of...

Rapper 21 Savage cancels performance at SBSR festival due to illness

American rapper 21 Savage has cancelled his performance scheduled for tonight at the SBSR festival, "due to illness",...