Monday, August 12 14:51:41
Portugal is fully committed to delivering 4.7 billion euros in budget cuts by 2014 as agreed with creditors under its bailout, Regional Development Minister Miguel Poiares Maduro said today.
Budget cuts imposed under the rescue programme caused a political crisis that threatened the government in July, prompting two ministers to resign and forcing the promotion of the head of the junior coalition partner to deputy prime minister.
Newspaper Weekly Expresso had reported the government was considering reducing the planned spending cuts to 2 billion euros rather than the larger amount agreed with creditors during their last review of the economy, which ended in March.
The centre-right government is currently drafting the 2014 budget, which is set to include the spending cuts and which has to be presented to parliament by October 15.
"Portugal remains fully committed to its obligations under the assistance programme as agreed under the last regular review (of the economy) by the 'troika'," Poiares Maduro told Reuters in an e-mailed statement.
Poiares Maduro is also responsible for ensuring the government's political coordination in cabinet, supporting the prime minister.
"The 2014 budget is being prepared according to those commitments and the values agreed," he said, referring to the planned spending cuts of 2.8 percent of gross domestic product, or roughly 4.7 billion euros.
Officials from the 'troika' of creditors, made up of the European Commission, European Central Bank and IMF, are expected to arrive in Portugal at the end of this month to carry out their next review of the economy.
Portugal's budget goals under its bailout were eased during the last review as the country struggles through its third year of a recession exacerbated by austerity measures. Lisbon now needs to cut the budget deficit to 4 percent of GDP next year from 5.5 percent this year. (Reuters)