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Ponta Delgada ,  February 25, 2009

Carlos César expects more sensitivity from financial institutions in relation to regional economic entities

Carlos César expects more sensitivity from financial institutions in relation to regional economic entities

On Wednesday, the President of the Regional Government of the Azores said that "it is important the banks operating in the Azores bear in mind the fragility of our economy and the specific conditions that structure our relations with external markets and which call for a very special relationship between companies and their clients."

He added that it is vital that financial institutions distinguish law-abiding companies from those that do not fulfill their financial obligations and that it is fundamental to engage all economic actors in the revitalization of the Azorean economy.

Speaking at the ceremony of the signing of credit-line agreements with financial institutions, which established the Complementary Programme for Supporting Investments that was proposed by farmers of the Autonomous Region of the Azores, the Regional Secretary for Agriculture and Forestry underlined the fact that this assistance programme answers to a key demand of Azorean farmers by eliminating the financial costs incurred by them whilst waiting for the assistance funds.

Hitherto, farmers submitted their investment projects to the governmental entity responsible for their approval. If their investment projects were approved, a contract for the provision of assistance funds would be signed by both interested parties. Prior to receiving the assistance funds, farmers would proceed with their investment projects. However, the bureaucratic process of the transfer of funds sometimes was not expedient enough, leaving farmers vulnerable to debts incurred meanwhile.

With this new programme, once a request for payment of assistance funds is submitted it will be validated in a period of three weeks.  When his investment project is validated, the farmer will have to present to the bank the letter of validation and the bank will make the funds available without any additional cost to the farmer.

Therefore, under this new financial protocol, the farmer will be able to access, without further delays or encumbrances, the funds that are necessary to his investment project, with no additional charges.

Financial institutions that have signed this financial protocol have assured that the transfer of investment funds to the farmers will be more secure and speedier.

In addition to supporting the investments of farmers, the PRORURAL assistance programme also enables the continuation of agricultural land-planning, an extremely important project that will create better working conditions for the farmers, contribute to the improvement of the quality of their products, reduce production costs and foment productivity and higher incomes in the agricultural sector. Soon, a legal decree will be passed that establishes the system of financial compensation for debts resulting from investments made in the farms. This system is intended to minimize the negative impact of the rise in interest rates on farmers' production costs and incomes, which took place in the period between January 2006 and October 2008. 

There will be incentives for the financial restructuring of debts incurred and new financial schemes, more adequate to the dimension and production capacities of Azorean farms, will be put in place.

At the same time that these financial policies are implemented, the Regional Government of the Azores will continue to move ahead with measures to deal with the contraction of consumer markets.

Therefore, the Government will continue to insure the representation and participation of regional products in the main food fairs and expositions where they can be promoted and divulged and where the ambience is propitious to the exploration of new business opportunities.

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Official government press-releases presented in all foreign languages interfaces of the Azorean Government Portal (Portal do Governo dos Açores) are a sub-set of the government's official press-releases daily output and are chosen for translation and publication on the foreign language interfaces based on audience segmentation criteria. The entire collection of the Azorean government press-releases is available in portuguese, here, from the GACS Press Office site.

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