“It's a good idea,” said Pedro Castro e Almeida, Santander's executive president, about the creation of Banco Português de Fomento (BPF), one of the projects undertaken by the Minister of Economy, Pedro Siza Vieira, inserted in the framework of support for the economy .
The CEO was speaking at the sixth edition of the conference cycle “Building Hope”, an initiative of the Christian Association of Entrepreneurs and Managers (ACEGE), which took place this Wednesday through telematic means.
Asked about the importance of creating the BPF in the context of the economic recovery of companies, Pedro Castro e Almeida said that he sees it "with expectation" and that he can "contribute to streamline the process of [giving] incentives to the economy". "It is a good idea, we see cases where there are development banks, and in Germany and France they work well," he said.
The first step towards the creation of Banco de Fomento was already taken when the Government approved, on the 16th, the merger of the Financial Development Institution (IFD) and PME Investimentos into SPGM, but the approval of the decree-law was only “ in general ”. To get off the ground, there will also be a period of hearings, in which Banco de Portugal will participate, and still obtain authorization from Brussels.
BPF's main mission will be to supply market failures in the supply of financial products, namely, by granting bank guarantees, to participate in the capital of companies or, among others, to grant financing with extended terms in the most difficult sectors.
The executive president of Santander also defended to boost the economy in a more “pro-capital” aspect and to the detriment of debt. “It is true that Portuguese companies have a very large capital deficit and we have a tax system that is completely biased towards a pro-debt and non-pro-capital framework. One of the things that should be done was, instead of distributing money with discretion, it would probably be looking at the corporate tax system, creating incentives more for capital rather than debt, and also for families. I think that was the best way to give our economy more dynamism, ”he said.
Pedro Castro e Almeida was also asked about what could happen in the post-moratorium period, which the Government extended until March 31, 2021, when it approved the Economic and Social Stabilization Program (PEES). Stressing the importance of tourism for the national economy - “Portugal is the third country in the world in which, directly or indirectly, tourism has greater weight in GDP” - said that “the post-moratorium period will have a lot to do with the recovery economic. “If we have a relatively rapid GDP recovery in the next year - and Portugal with pre-booked tourism for spring and summer - I don't think there will be a post-default drama. If [it takes longer to recover] we could have a worse situation than the crisis of 2012 ”, he warned.
Even so, the Santander CEO put the issue into perspective: “The indicators I have to date are not of alarming concern”. He said that the first impact felt at the level of unemployment occurred "on interns, temporary workers and [foreign]] restaurants" and that the second impact will depend on what happens, in economic terms, after the summer. "The second impact has to do with the post-summer impact, because companies will see what this is all about and will probably think in terms of efficiency and reduced staff," he argued.
Teleworking was another issue addressed during the ACEGE conference. On this topic, Pedro Castro e Almeida stressed that there are “good” and “less good” things. On a positive note, he stressed that companies will have “savings in consumable goods and allow them to gain efficiency” and better time management. Regarding human resources, Pedro Castro e Almeida stressed that people save time because they stop making so many trips between home and work.
From the point of view of “less good” things, the CEO of Santander said that meetings through digital media, such as the Zoom platform, sometimes hide important details: “There are things that only feel in person, such as body language, small gestures that often go unnoticed ”in telematic media. And, in terms of team management, Pedro Castro e Almeida said that “there is a lot to lose and this experience of 100% in teleworking”.