1. The new plan advisor
Reading in the newspapers, watching and hearing on TV's that the transformation of the Portuguese economy will take place with a plan under the responsibility of the Manager / Professor António Costa Silva is a pure daydream. It is feeding the noise of a political battle without content.
This or another government must recognize the right to be able to hire advisers, especially if Of Quality, for certain tasks. All the more reason when, in this specific area of Scenario / Prospective, there is no “critical mass”In the state apparatus.
This area was beheaded, in people and structures, a few years ago for reasons of various order, such as that of its “unnecessary”[Studies should be given to teams from abroad], and never redone. And so, when necessary, there are no structures or qualified technicians to order from strategic thought.
Another different matter is whether the way of communicating this contract to the country has been adjusted “pro bono”, A situation that frankly I do not appreciate, because, for me, the principle works that all work and, even more so in the State, must be paid. In my opinion it was not. But it is not the essential. A simple “footnote” would be enough to mark a position.
Time was burned in the news, when what mattered was to start the debate on the central aspects of the Plan's design, namely the identification and selection of strategic areas [clusters], its choice and prioritization, as well as the type of agile, efficient and effective organization for its implementation and transparency management.
[As a note, refer. It is positive that the Plan aims to reconstitute the “State failures”In terms of foresight, planning and programming, possibly in a perspective of articulation with the Universities and highlights the training component in these fields. In fact, this training problem was once raised as a technical necessity by the current Minister of Planning].
2. The responsibility of the Plan
However much merit Engineer António Costa Silva has, for much accumulated knowledge he has had to reflect on these themes for several years, as he said, and, therefore, he quickly identified strategic guidelines, the Plan as an instrument that can be of transformation of the structure of the Portuguese economy or indirectly from society, the end result will always be from the Government, because it is based on its political-economic choices.
It is up to the Government to select strategic areas, establish priorities and define the amount of funding for each cluster selected and the application forms and requirements of the agents that will interfere in its implementation.
It will also be interesting to think about the articulation of these financing funds with the attraction of other sources of investment, national or foreign, in order to broaden the impacts of the transformations to operate.
The application of non-refundable amounts will have to respond to certain strategic lines of the European Union, such as energy transition, digital transition and climate change. I do not think that any embarrassment will result, strategic clusters relaunch of the Portuguese economy will fit well in these lines.
In this context, the Plan is the entire responsibility of the Government and will be the Government judged by the competence they demonstrate or not in its implementation, for the results it obtains and for the transparency of its management.
An example. It is the Government's responsibility to format the National Health Service (SNS) by developing the components it best understands. Define its articulation with the private sector. Give great strength to the NHS in terms of human and material resources. Launch the challenges to Science and the production of Portuguese, public and private industry and establish the harmonious functioning between the existing structures and the new ones that are justified to create.
Thus, an in-depth, rigorous and as complete as possible design of the “health cluster”With the different lines of goods and services and the respective phases of implementation. A final mapping where activities and regions cross, including the Autonomous Regions.
The ongoing pandemic has demonstrated the irreplaceable role of the SNS.
The Portuguese population saw in practice how, despite some shortcomings, it was the NHS that was at the forefront of fighting the virus and there is no alternative and, therefore, all this experience and teachings must materialize in its future design. The country's great external dependence on equipment and material, as well as the lack of human resources, must be an essential target. The role of Science, the role of companies, must be rethought and articulated.
The programming of the needs for qualified and specific employment cannot fail to have a relevant place. There are, therefore, many targets to consider and to enter at various stages of programming.
Everyone considers, I think, the cluster health as a foundational and priority and, without a doubt, determinant in economic and social terms, due to the impact on people's lives and well-being, on jobs, on the dynamization of the economy and on the creation of wealth and, for all this, it has to integrate necessarily the Plan for the transformation of Portuguese society and economy.
3. The characteristics of the Plan
The Economy Transformation Plan for a new economy can't want "cover" all areas and sectors of the country. There are many that work for you.
The Plan must be based in a very limited number of areas (clusters). Otherwise, it will be just a few well-written generalities. Another beautiful report, well covered, to be at the bottom of the first drawer. An updated work of consultation for speeches. The strategic path cannot be that, but that of selective choice. Half a dozen clusters it's too much.
In a country with our geographic footprint (the sea on one side and Spain on the other), the railroad and the ports must be points to be considered. How are we going to go out to sea and penetrate Europe in competitive terms and how do we consider this relationship between ports and railways?
On the other hand, Covid-19 brought us the reality of teleworking and distance learning before the expected time, and here another front opens up, that of telecommunications and digital infrastructures. The infrastructure component, as a whole, physical and digital, gains another dimension and space in the design of the new economy for the country.
The use of natural resources such as lithium and other ores in a perspective of energy transition and electric mobility (the electric car), certainly here articulating several clusters, constitutes another focus. And beware of ending the old fate of Portugal as a poor and resourceless country. Our resources, including those of marine origin, have a dimension well qualified for our dimension.
There are other domains, always secondary, such as Science and Culture, which will necessarily have to enter into a strategy of rupture with the prevailing economic structure, not only because of the impact on the new economy of the future to which we started late, but also because of its social, employment and creativity effects.
Culture and Science provide creativity and innovation, two strategic lines increasingly determining the transformation of the economy and mentalities. And, certainly, this bet on creativity and innovation can take us far and definitively surpass development due to low wages. We all say and write this so many times, but in reality, without changes, we will continue on that footprint!
The author writes according to the old spelling.