LISBON, April 16 (Reuters) - Portugal announced on Friday it
would give around 5 billion euros ($5.99 billion) from the EU
recovery fund to companies over the next five years in a bid to
reboot the economy and increase competitiveness after the
Prime Minister Antonio Costa said the biggest chunk of the
support package, worth 1.55 billion euros, would help companies
reinforce equity, followed by 1.36 billion euros for investments
The Portuguese plan, which will soon be sent to Brussels,
also includes 715 million euros to support companies making
their production processes less dependent on carbon and 650
million euros to boost digital tools and skills.
"Companies will be key partners... to transform the
opportunity generated by the recovery plan into a reality that
will transform the country," Costa said during an event to
present the plan.
"We can't just look at the emergence of the pandemic in the
present but we have to now focus on building our future," he
Portugal wants to use the nearly 14 billion euros in EU
grants until 2026 out of the bloc's 750 billion-euro coronavirus
recovery package, but lowered its loans forecast to 2.7 billion
euros from the 4.3 billion euros predicted in October.
The government said it expected the recovery programme to
increase GDP by 3.5% by the end of 2025, compared with what it
would be without it.
In addition to projects supporting a "greener and digital
economic model", the plan envisages dozens of investment
projects in health, social housing, innovation and
Portugal's government on Thursday cut its 2021 economic
growth forecast to 4% from 5.4% after a severe worsening of the
coronavirus pandemic at the start of this year forced a
nationwide lockdown lasting over two months.
Portugal's tourism-dependent economy contracted 7.6% in
2020, in its steepest recession since 1936.
($1 = 0.8350 euro)
(Reporting by Sergio Goncalves; Editing by Catarina Demony and