Portugal closed the year with a deficit of 0.6%, one tenth lower than indicated in the 2018 Budget, as announced today by Finance Minister Mário Centeno. In 2017 the deficit was 3% because of the recapitalization of the public banking Caixa Geral de Depósitos (CGD) with 3,400 million euros, without this burden, the deficit would have remained at 0.9%. In his appearance before the Parliament, Centeno refuted the critics of the opposition that accused him of lowering the deficit at the expense of stopping expenses and investments approved in the budget. According to the minister, 99.64% of the planned spending was executed.
In full wave of strikes in the civil service and, in these days specifically, of the nurses due to lack of personnel and low salaries in the National Health Service, Centeno denied that there have been any cuts, as he was accused by the center-right opposition, but also by his parliamentary partners, the Bloco and the PC.
Centeno also denied that the Portuguese tax burden has increased, since the increase in revenue from the Treasury is due to the increase in the country's productivity and not to the fiscal pressure. "Countries that grow more than Portugal -and that the opposition deputies like so much- do not show such good results on the financial, social and budgetary consolidation fronts".
For this year, the last of the legislature, the forecast for the deficit is 0.2%, unemployment a little over 6% (the year closed with 7%, 1.9 points less than in 2017) and a reduction of Debt. Last year the debt fell to 121.4%, two tenths more than expected.