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Horta ,  July 19, 2018

Gui Menezes highlights Regional Government's commitment to support COFACO workers on Pico and construction of new plant

The Regional Secretary for the Sea, Science and Technology stated in Horta that the report prepared by the Working Group of the Committee on Economic Affairs to assess the impact of the closure of COFACO plant on Pico "evidences the Regional Government's commitment" to support workers and the investment in the new tuna processing plant.
Gui Menezes stated that the Regional Secretariat for Sea, Science and Technology received last week a request from the PDM Transformação e Comércio de Pescado, Lda. for the extension of the term for another 60 days. This request intends to ensure the company's compliance with the condition of eligibility to apply for support under EMFF - European Maritime and Fisheries Fund for the construction of the new plant.
The Regional Secretary spoke at the Legislative Assembly on occasion of the presentation of the report drafted by the Working Group to assess the social and economic impact arising from the closure of COFACO. According to him, the request for an extension of the deadline "stemmed from the need to change the implementation project of the WTTP. Currently, the deadline for the introduction of this change is running, after which the work will be authorised."
Gui Menezes said that, according to the company, "it is likely that the project will be concluded shortly, which will allow the approval of bank financing for the implementation of the project."
During his speech, the Regional Secretary criticised the Left Block party for "attempting to hold the Regional Government accountable for this process," stressing that this "is a private company."
"The Government of the Azores has nothing to do with the strategies followed by private companies. Nonetheless, it has expressed its concern about the situation and has every interest in the implementation of this investment," emphasised the government official.
Gui Menezes also said that he shares "the trust that the member of Parliament of PSD/Açores, Duarte Freitas, and the Mayor of Madalena" regarding the implementation of this project, recalling the meetings with administration board of COFACO.
"The trust is the same and we have to believe that the company is going to build a new plant," the government official said, assuring that the Azorean Government "is not indifferent" to this process.
PDM's investment project, with an estimated budget of 6.7 million Euros, includes the construction of a new plant in Madalena on Pico Island for the production of tuna loins.
The Regional Secretary also recalled that the Regional Government, through the Regional Labour Inspectorate and the Regional Secretariat for Employment and Vocational Training has been committed to supporting COFACO workers from the very beginning."
It should be noted the Regional Labour Inspectorate has sent a team to the island of Pico that was in charging of contacting each plant worker, who were provided with the necessary information and the support requested.
Moreover, the Regional Directorate for Employment and Vocational Training has promoted an intervention plan comprising the training of COFACO workers.
It should also be recalled that the Regional Government, through the Regional Secretariat for Social Solidarity, continues to ensure the payment of daycare fees to the children of COFACO workers until the opening of the new plant.
This measure covers 32 children and counts on the partnership of "Santa Casa da Misericórdia" institution of Madalena, assuring the maintenance of a free care scheme that already benefited workers.
In his speech, Gui Menezes stressed that the canning industry "is very important" for the Azores. He noted that the companies based in the archipelago receive support from POSEI, a specific aid scheme for Outermost Regions, "precisely to compensate for the additional costs incurred by this industry in the Region."
According to him, "four [private] projects have applied for European funds for the redevelopment of this industry" in the Azores.
"If there was no confidence in this sector, the submission of these applications would make no sense," said Gui Menezes.


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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