Government did not touch covid-19 emergency fund until May

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Nuno Fox / Lusa

Finance Minister João Leão

The analysis by the Technical Budget Support Unit (UTAO) of budget execution in public accounting between January and May concluded that the Ministry of Finance has not yet resorted to the reserve for unforeseen events related to the covid-19 pandemic.

Until the end of May, before the second phase of the decontamination, the Ministry of Finance had not yet touched on the allocation of 500 million euros for unforeseen expenses with the pandemic.

The information is part of the analysis of the Technical Budget Support Unit (UTAO) of the budget execution in public accounting between January and May and is advanced this Tuesday by the newspaper ECO.

The centralized allocation of 500 million was introduced by the Government in the State Budget for 2021 and was intended to avoid an amending budget.

In April, the Ministry of Finance admitted to the economic daily that it would start to spend this appropriation, as it had exhausted its Social Security budget. At the time, he advanced, the Government spent 804.9 million euros when it had budgeted 776 million.

However, according to UTAO data, haven’t done it yet. “Until the end of May 2021, the use of these appropriations [centralizadas] expenditure was residual”, the document reads.

Of the provisional allocation, a provision that exists in all Budgets to cover unforeseen expenditures, only a small portion was spent, as well as of the budget reserve, “a captivation of a specific amount in the budget programs”.

The ECO also writes that part of the initial captivations (which can still be added more with the budget execution decree still to be published) have also been released.

UTAO’s analysis reveals that pandemic expenditure slowed down for the second consecutive month in May. “In May 2021 and for the second consecutive month, expenditure on covid-19 measures decreased compared to the previous month due, in particular, to the decrease in expenditure on simplified lay-off measures, extraordinary support for the progressive recovery and extraordinary support for reduction in the economic activity of self-employed workers and sole proprietors.”

If the government decides to impose more restrictive measures to contain the fourth wave, the decline could be reversed.

96d6f2e7e1f705ab5e59c84a6dc009b2 1 Government did not touch covid-19 emergency fund until May ZAP //