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OECD Economic Surveys: Portugal 2003

image of OECD Economic Surveys: Portugal 2003

This 2003 edition of OECD's periodic review of Portugal's economy examines recent economic developments, policies and prospects and  includes special features on public expenditure and structural reform.

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The Effectiveness of Public Expenditure in Portugal

Over the past decade, OECD Economic Surveys have made frequent reference to problems of public expenditure control in Portugal. General government spending relative to GDP is still lower than the EU average. But a persistent reliance on contingency measures to meet planned spending objectives – often associated with emergency supplementary budgets – has been symptomatic of fundamental weaknesses in the budget process. Recent Surveys have identified unplanned shifts in the composition of public spending as a result of such short-term expedients, which have usually been based on intra-year spending freezes falling disproportionately on capital outlays. The overshooting of the general government deficit in 2001, and the need to create a sustainable budget balance path, has made it all the more critical to establish a viable medium-term profile for spending. This, in turn, requires substantial improvements to public expenditure management systems, so as to provide the authorities with the tools they need for effective planning and control.

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