Government bad debts, Coral may strike, Fifth channel in limbo, & other snippets

TODAY’S PHOTO : Thanks to Jon & Deb … “View from our house in Gaula for the blog (if you think suitable) taken last weekend – just to prove to your readers that the sun does shine here!”

Thanks Jon & Deb, any topical and interesting photos always welcome. I don’t normally pick or choose which get shown, except where I get a lot of the photos with the same subject.

Front Page News : source : Diário de Notícias 25/3/2009

The temporary diversion of a river in Faial, that has been used for illegal extraction of sand and stones, has meant that adjoining land used for growing crops, belonging to private individuals, has become contaminated with sand. That sand has technically been obtained ‘without a licence’, but the land owners affected are able to gather it and dispose of it, by selling it if they choose to do so.

Main Headline : ‘Garrote to the companies’ – The debts accumulated by the regional government currently amounts to around €100 million, even though it is lower than it was a few years ago. Bad debts with the government have already led to company insolvencies and bankruptcies, and those that are surviving are obliged to turn to the bank for bridging help. Because of the lack of money circulating in the economy, many companies are struggling to pay wages, suppliers and bank loans on time, and much of that is due to the regional government failing to pay it’s bills on time. The commercial debt of the Government has declined since 2005 after having reached an astronomical figure. And although the government has not disclosed the debt value at the end of 2008, the Diário knows that it is close to €100 million. When these government debts are unpaid longer than the statutory 45/60 days, as well as late payment interest, it has to pay a supplementary interest fee of 9.5%, and that totalled €17.7 million in late payment charges in 2007. Often these payments can be delayed for two years, and in some cases even more.

In a different but ironically related story, during an inauguration this week President Jardim helpfully said : “It is better to have little profit, or almost no profit for a year or two and hold the social situation, because this is cyclical, and until there is increased demand and normality returns, it is indecent to use this situation to lay people off”. If companies are making no profit because the government is taking two years to pay their bills, I am not sure that anything ‘indecent’ is the fault of that company rather the fault of Uncle Bertie’s government.

‘Satisfied but not radiant’ – has the lions share of the front page, and is an interview with Ruben Micael of Nacional, who has been selected for the Portugal national ‘B’ team. His international debut is on 1st April against Romania.

Another article is about the festival ‘Artmar’ which takes place in Câmara de Lobos between 4th and 6th June. The event, which is renowned for it’s star musical performers (not that I have heard of any of the ones mentioned apart from Mariza), has been brought forward from September, after rain affected the event in the last two years.

Other News :

In the most important story of yesterday, that in my view should have been on the front page, workers at the Empresa de Cervejas da Madeira (ECM) are quite likely to go on strike. If the next management – union meeting in the next few days doesn’t settle the pay rise dispute, then disaster could strike our main brewery and leave us without any Coral. WARNING – STOCK PILE NOW!

The 3 planned strike days of the pilots of SATA, the Azores airline that serves Madeira, have been cancelled. The company has made an improved offer (on what I don’t know) and that is being given consideration by the pilots trade union.

I think it was Tobi who mentioned it a few days ago, but the cable car at Garajau is now officially ‘back to normal’, after a year out of action following damage and lack of an operating licence. The round (up and down) trip costs €2, with that price being held throughout the Summer.

I think we must be in ‘bad medical news week’. After yesterday’s article about tuberculosis, today there is a report saying that more than 26 thousand Madeirans are affected by diabetes, the worst affected region in Portugal.

The Regulatory Authority for Social Communication has rejected the applications of Telecinco and Zon in the competition for a fifth channel of open signal. According to information provided by official sources, the two candidates were excluded for not meeting “the requirements and regulations for admission to the contest”. The new TV channel will compete with those from RTP, TVI, and SIC, and will be available free and without satellite or cable subscriptions. I am not sure where this goes now, as it seems that Telecinco and Zon were the only companies interested in taking on the fifth channel.

The old prison in Funchal, Cadeia dos Viveiros, that was emptied of prisoners this month, is to be in part turned into a day centre for old people. The PSD, with CMF and the Junta de Freguesia of Imaculado Coração de Maria, met to decide it’s future, which will include 40 apartments for social housing. I am just trying to picture this social housing project, and I would predict 40 studio flats, 3 metre square, very secure,  with open plan toilet, but no bath or shower, and rather small windows that will not help remove the smell of a history of incarcerated men.

Reducing interest rates in the Eurozone are now reflecting in the new Eurobor mortgage interest rate, and will make the average mortgage holder €21 a month better off per €100,000 borrowed. The 1.5% rate is predicted to fall even further, and stay low for a long time, and at present it is possible to borrow €100,000 and pay as low as €367 a month in repayments, depending on the offer chosen.

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5 thoughts on “Government bad debts, Coral may strike, Fifth channel in limbo, & other snippets”

  1. Up nice and early this morning Der…

    Thats a nice Sunny picture Jon and Deb , not seen many days like that this year , is this weather ever going to change????????????????

    I have my fourth cold of the winter , it just feels like ive been ill since November…..
    –Tobi

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  2. More donations are urgently needed to keep the blog going, so please please please if you read it and can afford to pay a small amount of money, please contact Alan or Der, otherwise the blog will go and we wont know whats happening in Madeira.
    –Tobi

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