Arab Today, arab today portugal to bring excessive debt to end for first time in 15 years
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Portugal to bring excessive debt to end for first time in 15 years

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Arab Today, arab today Portugal to bring excessive debt to end for first time in 15 years

Portuguese PM Pedro Passos Coelho
Lisbon - XINHUA

Portugal will bring its excessive deficit to an end this year "for the first time in 15 years" and must continue on the same track, Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho said on Wednesday.

"For the first time in the last 15 years, we are going to put an end to an excessive deficit, which means we will register a deficit below 3 per cent," Pedo Passos Coelho said at the inauguration of agriculture and handicraft in Estremoz, around 170 km from Lisbon.

Passos Coelho added that Portugal would be in "positive territory" already if it weren't for the interest the country has to pay on past debt.

He also said indebtedness of companies had fallen and praised the agricultural sector for its "sky-high" use of community funds.

The ruling coalition implemented a harsh austerity program since 2011 after signing a 78 billion euros with international lenders.

The economy is improving, and last year the country saw its first year of economic growth since 2011, of 0.9 per cent of GDP.

However the International Monetary Fund has been critical of the country's progress, doubting that the country will be able to bring down its deficit target below 3 per cent of GDP this year and putting pressure on the country to implement even deeper reforms.

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