Off-shore Business Declining, Eggs With Quality, & not much else really

TODAY’S PHOTO : Thanks to Sarah … An ‘A’ Frame house in Santana. I went in one once and they are not as small as they seem, but I guess with a whole family inside it’s a different story.

Front Page News : source : Diário de Notícias 29/3/2009

Yesterday’s main headline : ‘Zona Franca Loses Businesses’. The Zona Franca, the tax advantageous or ‘off-shore’ zone of Madeira, had 6,242 companies registered in the year 2000. At the end of last year there were just 3,630, a drop of 42%. These are alarming statistics for the regional economy, especially for economic growth. Over the 22 years of it’s existence, the only sector still in growth in the Zona Franca is the ‘Industrial’ zone. The Financial Services sector has lost 33% of it’s businesses over the last 10 years, whereas the International Services zone has reduced by 44% over 8 years. The final sector, the International Registration of Ships, has 238 entities, but in 2000 had 264. The SDM (Madeira Development Company), that manages the International Business Center of Madeira and the Zona Franca, says that the decision by the European Commission in 2002 to stop the acceptance of new entrants in the Financial Services Sector (including insurance) has had a significant impact. I never realised there were anything like that number, but that is certainly a big drop over 8 years, especially when Madeira has the lowest IVA (VAT) rate in Europe.

The main picture shows Cristiano Ronaldo on his knees, after the disappointing 0 – 0 draw at home to Sweden. Our very own Danny of Madeira, missed one of the best chances of the game, whilst Ronaldo also blew several chances.

After several days of bad traffic accidents it seemed tragically inevitable that one would result in a death. On Saturday afternoon a 71 year old woman died from her injuries in Funchal Central Hospital after being run over. The driver was also hospitalised, suffering with shock.

Madeira’s embroiderers who work within the organization ‘Casa de Bordados’ have become aware that they have not had their social security pension contributions paid. Several of the workers who are approaching retirement age are now worried about their pension situations. Whilst the workers pay 2% or earnings, the employer should also pay a contribution amounting to 10 or 12% of earnings. To add to their problems, the workers are having to wait for between 6 and 7 months to get paid for the work they do.

‘Young Entrepreneurs Cheat Unemployment’ – Entrepreneurs of the future, Filipe, Ana and Ivan, pursued a dream and eventually escaped unemployment. One formed the company ‘Solimpeza’ last November with €5,000 he had to borrow. That business specialises in industrial and domestic cleaning, and includes boats and cars, and now has five employees. Filipe Gomes, 19, who seems to be the boss said on the problem with unemployment “I believe that despite the crisis that has developed, the Madeirans can not close their businesses, because that will only increase the problem.” Ana Ripoll runs a store called ‘A Indiazinha’ (Little India), born from something she saw on holiday in Barcelona, she sells imitation jewelery and fashion accessories, including exclusive and handmade pieces. And then there was Ivan … ho hum, is that the time! Diário quote – “Who said that the ‘kids of the neighbourhood’ can not be entrepreneurs?” Not me for sure!

‘Sceptic Tanks Put Public Health At Risk In Teneira’ – In a gripping tale on one of my favourite topics, overfull tanks are resulting in unpleasant sewerage overflows into homes, and the road, and even water tributaries. 30 families in this area of Caniço complain of the danger to health, and call in the council in Santa Cruz to intervene, using a 56 signature petition for leverage, after the câmara ignored earlier requests. Even a medical expert was called in to take a look, and he wrote to the council, telling them that the houses were unfit for habitation … ignored. Counsellor Emanuel Gouveia, was very surprised with the situation, and also said that this was the first time I heard about this case, “that is putting at risk the health of the population”. He promised “Given the gravity of this situation I can say is that this week we will arrange an inspection on site”. The power of the media never ceases to amaze me. Perhaps after they organise the emptying of the sceptic tanks, Uncle Bertie can come along a re-inaugurate them?

Other News :

40 Madeiran’s are off to China for a ‘cultural journey’ over Easter, for two weeks. The initiative is part of the XIII edition of ‘On the Community Route’ which organises for its followers travel to exotic and ‘long haul’ destinations. I wonder if they have written to the president of the Peoples Republic of China, ( Zhuxi to his pals), to advise him that these people are not of the same school of thought as President Jardim, who stated that the Chinese people are not welcome on Madeira as they undercut local businesses. 

One school in Calheta is running a campaign to make parents aware of the importance of oral health, spurred on by a local dentist. The purpose is to alert parents to the need for healthy eating, dental care at home, and regular dental care. I have to admire the initiative of the dentist, but whilst I am sure his motivations are sincere, it might be worth reminding ourselves that a large percentage of the population here has never been to a dentist because they can’t afford it.

Professor Carlos Amaral Dias, a psychoanalyst, who was here for a congress recently, says that it is frightening to hear that by 2025, depression will be the second biggest killer (for medical reasons). The original statement came from the World Health Organization and is valid for the entire planet.

Anyone going to the Lido swimming complex this Summer, beware as you now have to pay for car parking on top of the entrance charges.


‘Sodiprave given certification of quality’ – those good people who compete with ‘Cabo Girão’ to supply us with our eggs, has obtained certification that covers company management and veterinary services, to add to those they already have for slaughter, processing, and distribution. A spokesperson said that ISO 22000 certification is the next step. “In practical terms this certification is a more demanding and more specific in terms of food safety. It is more comprehensive because certification includes all services and not just the product itself.” Apart from the fact that a deceased chicken is on the supermarket shelves within 24 hours of the kill, there are no other specific benefits mentioned for the consumers. I might well lean towards Sodiprave eggs in future, as the price is always pretty much the same as Cabo Girão, although it’s a bit hard to tell because there there often no prices given in Hiper Sã and Pingo Doce here, and I end up choosing by expiry date. Before I came to Madeira I always brought free range eggs … has anyone got any idea what we get from the two companies here? I have a feeling I am going to regret asking this question though.

We have slipped back into Winter according to the news on channel TVI this morning, who say today in Funchal it will be a maximum of 15ºc and minimum of 13ºc. I know we have significant variations across Madeira, and it was cold last night, but I don’t believe that daytime temperatures would ever be that low.


A message from Alan :


Well Its official I am with the blog!! We are both up in the air.

I’m on a plane to UK, and this might be the penultimate blog.

Not a lot I can do now. It’s up to you.

Thank you to everyone who has pledged and thank you for your
kind words and encouragement.

If you are a reader and have not yet pledged please do so NOW, or on Wednesday you might be trying to translate the Diario on your own.

The only person who might like that would be Uncle Bertie, and we can’t have that can we.



Aside from your valued blog responses (you can reply direct using the form at the bottom of each blog comments page), please send any unreported Madeira news, topical photos, events information, or snippets for the madeira4u blog to – anyone can join in! Thank you!

7 thoughts on “Off-shore Business Declining, Eggs With Quality, & not much else really”

  1. Hi,

    Sorry to be so blunt, but as we are all coming to realise, capitalism is brutal, it's support or die.

    The blog needs support, so if everyone can support it,together we can save it. 10 Euros/Pounds won't save it, but 10 Euros/Pounds from everyone might just.

    Do nothing and we lose it. Alan flew across from the UK and got involved so if you don't want to lose it show your support for Alan and Der's hard work and effort they are spending (as well as money) in trying to save this blog for all of us.




  2. Alan has asked me to comment on the blog after e mailing my pledge. There are a lot of people who read this blog regularly who could afford a contribution. The credit crunch has affected us all, but a little from everyone will keep this blog running. Then we can all feel that we have done some good and kept this unique blog community going.

  3. Re the eggs, the nearest thing to free-range here seems to be 'ovos de casa' which we get from our local market at Penteada but which you might be able to get elsewhere by asking around.

  4. Well good start today we got a pledge late last night for 8 euros a months from "croc&croc" (alias) And a pledge for 50 per year has just landed from USSweet (alias) Come on folks we are nearly there and I'm half way home at Lisbon airport.

    Thank you Mark for you words of encouragment.
    –Alan f / iphone

  5. Nice one Mark , and yes its gonna be a shame if the blog goes, and i to love reading the comments from all the other readers, the blog may only be small but its packed with info, and with all the comments from people as well with info from their part of the island, we have a good thing going here.
    Anymore to stick some dosh in the hat????????????????????????????

  6. Hope Alan has arrived at Liverpool by now…..Flower Power!
    If we compare the cost of a daily newspaper/cup of coffee and a chat in a Cafe/Beer and a chat in a bar or any TV subscription to our request to fund the blog then surely the blog wins hands down? Not only with the real news from Madeira but also delivered with a subtle twist (sic) of ice, lemon (sucking) and some social debate/interaction – with a much cheaper price tag!
    Go on, make a pledge, little or large – it is so worth it! Otherwise Big Bertie gets control…..

  7. Hi guys
    I'm back!!!!!
    In Uk yac
    Well we got another pledge from woodi (alias) 50 euros come on folks any more for any more get on before it's gone.
    Working Tuesday but I will update you all about 7pm


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