The construction sector guarantees that Angola remains a “priority” and looks forward to “normalization” of bilateral relations and “hundreds of millions of euros” debt settlement to Portuguese companies with the “highest expectation of recent years”.
“In recent years we have never had a situation of greater expectation than we have today,” said the president of the Association of Civil Construction and Public Works Industry (AICCOPN) in statements about the visit to Portugal of the President of Angola, João Lourenço.
In the opinion of Manuel Reis Campos, the Portuguese prime minister’s visit to Angola last September was “a significant step towards stabilizing the dialogue” between the two countries and had “good results”, namely the “availability” manifested by the Angolan government to, after certification, settle debts to Portuguese companies.
João Lourenço’s visit to Portugal is seen as another “extremely positive sign for Portuguese construction companies and entrepreneurs”, who, according to Reis Campos, “want to continue to belong to the future of Angola.”
“The overwhelming majority of Portuguese businessmen continue to express confidence in the Angolan market,” said the business leader, noting that the “historical ties” between the two countries “look to Angola as a priority” and pointing to the “positive expectations of a return to growth significant “construction sector in that African country.
According to the president of AICCOPN, in addition to the central issue of debts to Portuguese companies – which Reis Campos believes are on the order of “a few hundred million euros” – the sector would like to see on the table next week’s visit of João Lourenço the theme of professional training and the exchange of construction workers, in a context of manifest lack of labour in Portugal.
“With the exit, due to the crisis, of 260,000 workers in the last six to seven years, we have labour shortages and in Angola, there are natural resources available and local manufacturing capacity needs to reduce import dependency and training basic professional and higher education, “he said.
AICCOPN considers that it is “very important” to sign a cooperation protocol with Angola for “the creation of systems of equivalence and the formatting of content “and a” mechanism for transnational mobility of local workers “to make up for the shortage of labour in Portugal.
“At a time when labour is the main problem of companies, which is even leading to some contests being deserted because companies do not even go there for those prices, the training of Angolan workers should be privileged, giving this possibility to our centres that are excellent. It was good for Angola, Portugal and for the sector, “says Reis Campos.
Mota-Engil, Teixeira Duarte and Soares da Costa, the latter currently in the Special Revitalization Process (PER) and without the capacity to pay workers, are not among the Portuguese contractors who claim debts to the Angolan State, because, according to the administration, is able to transfer 15 million euros to Portugal that it has retained in Angolan banks.
The official source of Soares da Costa, Angola’s debt to the company “exceeds a hundred million euros” and had “a huge impact” on the financial health of the construction company, whose deterioration ended up leading to the current situation.
Although there are practically no works in Portugal, Soares da Costa says that the activity “has gone well” in Angola, a market that today represents “around 60%” of its billing, with Mozambique accounting for the remaining 40%.
Mota-Engil speaks about “good and bad moments” lived in Angola, where he has been present for 70 years and has hundreds of Portuguese staff working.
In September, in statements during António Costa’s work visit to Angola, construction consultant Jorge Coelho stated that Mota-Engil was able to “adjust” to the Angolan crisis and is now “well” and with an “a very positive vision of the country and what it will be in the future”.
On Thursday, António Costa said João Lourenço’s visit from Nov. 22 to 24 was “a high point” in Portuguese-Angolan relations and said he hopes to complete the debt certification process for Portuguese companies.