Call Professor Porter, now! And they even called

Five months after my suggestion, the Council of Ministers decided to update the Porter Report on the Grand Options of the Plan, a document approved last week by the Executive.

On April 7, I published an article in this column with the title “Call Professor Porter, now! ”. I was referring to Michael E. Porter, professor of economics at Harvard Business School. Porter studied Portuguese economy 26 years ago. He made a set of recommendations that became known as the Porter Report. At the invitation of Luís Mira Amaral, minister in the government of Cavaco Silva.

This study structured the debate on the strategy of the Portuguese economy. Porter made the diagnosis of the weaknesses and prescribed the recipes to increase the competitiveness of the Portuguese economy. Many have been followed, successfully, but many others have not, and are the basis of our progressive delay.

Escrevi também, nesse momento, menos de um mês depois do decreto de declaração do estado de emergência: “Precisamos de um discurso que olhe para a renovação necessária pós-pandemia. Tem de ser um discurso de líder, firme nas convicções, confiando que os portugueses serão capazes, baseado na ideia que o sacrifício de hoje vale a pena porque vamos lutar para superar as dificuldades. Em resumo, encarar a pandemia como uma oportunidade para a renovação a muitos níveis – cidadãos, empresas, Estado, instituições.”

Na realidade, não chamaram Michael Porter ele mesmo. Chamaram o Relatório elaborado por Porter. Descobri no fim de semana no semanário “Sol” que, uma semana antes de apresentar programa de Costa Silva, a 21 de julho, o Governo decidira recuperar o estudo de Porter. Pensei que, afinal, há ainda quem perceba onde estão as boas ideias.

Five months after my suggestion, it is confirmed that the Council of Ministers has decided to update the Porter Report on the Great Options of the Plan, a document approved last week by the Executive, which reads: “We will also carry out a study to update the Porter Report ”.

According to "Sol", the Government's idea is to identify the "potential of the Portuguese economy and to define public policies that allow to improve the specialization profile and the structure of our industrial fabric". With a focus on activities considered emerging, such as batteries.

Em entrevista ao “Sol”, Mira Amaral aplaude a iniciativa do Governo e não se mostra surpreendido com a decisão: “Há tempos tive um almoço com o ministro da Economia e tive oportunidade de falar sobre o Relatório Porter e de entregar um estudo realizado pela CIP sobre a reindustrialização 4.0”.

Still, he considers that the update should be more comprehensive and not just focus on batteries. "There are more technological clusters that should be studied", and gives the example of six: materials; biotechnology; information and communication technologies; health and life sciences; aeronautics and, finally, mobility, where batteries could be integrated.

É preciso ir mais além e não ficar apenas pelo programa avançado por António Costa Silva e que, no entender do Professor Mira Amaral, é inútil, vazio, poesia. “Não serve para nada”, diz. Mira Amaral admite, no entanto, que ainda tem esperança nos ministros da Economia  [Pedro Siza Vieira] e do Planeamento [Nelson de Souza], já que os considera “equilibrados” e os “únicos capazes de fazer um plano para a economia que seja exequível e realista”.

As I wrote then, it is necessary to mobilize the best minds, among which I mentioned precisely the Minister of Economy, to work on Portugal's recovery strategy, a State effort that must start immediately.

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