We are living a very important moment in our history, as it is probably one of the last opportunities to apply external investment to leap in terms of the country’s development.
I would like to share my vision of some principles that I believe that should be followed, and they are often ignored.
We must have the ambition to be at the top, together with the best. If we try to be in the EU average, we will end at the bottom of the table.
We need to think globally but act specifically: each sector needs specific measures, and frequently the topics that are on the agenda are not relevant to the most competitive sectors with the most potential (eg, discussion about the minimum wage or labor protection issues). Instead of managing to win in the right sectors, we manage not to lose in the wrong sectors. We cannot lead to looking at the mirror and what has worked in the past. We must manage to look forward, investing on sectors that can give a better return regardless to investments that have already been made in the past. We cannot manage based on incentives, projects must have merit (without incentives).
I also want to share an opinion about one of the sectors that I believe to be fundamental to our future, the Technology and Information Systems sector. And no, I will not talk about lowering taxes – some factors have, actually, much more impact.
Firstly, the critical factor is the availability of talent. We must have more people entering technological or related areas, trained for the real needs of the labor market. We must have a short-term plan to double the number of vacancies in Polytechnics and Universities, and this must be a national goal, not a political battlefield. We must have a selective policy for fast and efficient Visa approval to import external talent. Portugal should be seen as a center of technological excellence. The world needs talent with quality, which it has, and with scale, which it does not have.
The ranking of students enrolled in Science, Mathematics and Informatics in the EU is in the 27th place, and is surprisingly led by Greece, but Finland, Ireland, Germany and Austria are also in the top places.
Portugal ranks in the 23rd place (data for 2018 / Pordata) .
We need a job market more flexible. We are in 2020, in a knowledge economy, and workers have almost total control of the work tools, and their knowledge does not need the central state to create meaningless rules for everything. Companies need agility and the ability to adapt quickly to their needs, and they have to work on a baseline of creative destruction: when it fails, it must fail fast, and when it goes well, it must be easy to accelerate fast. For this, it is necessary to have fewer rules and let the company-employee relationship work.
In the latest edition of the Global Competitiveness Report, from the World Economic Forum, and among 140 economies, Portugal was poorly placed in terms of flexibility in the job market, sub-ranking in this area 51 / general ranking 34, with some particularly bad indicators such as 121 in hiring and firing practices and 120 in internal mobility.
We must finish with unnecessary bureaucracy and lower context costs. We cannot want companies to export and then create obstacles when this happens. An example of this are the difficulties that are created in the return of VAT or the reports that are required by Banco de Portugal, obstacles created to penalize exactly who exports the most. Due to the state’s lack of capacity to enforce rules for a prevaricating minority, we cannot create obstacles for all the others.
In the same study from the World Economic Forum mentioned above, Portugal is again very poorly placed in the indicator “weight of government regulation”, being in 94th place.
I believe that we are living a unique moment, a moment to rethink measures and to manage specifically different strategic sectors. All political agents must understand and honor their place, leaving aside their ideological convictions and party disciplines, Portugal deserves much more and cannot wait longer!
Source : Dinheiro Vivo