The Treasury Minister answered questions from the audience at the event held in Malaga this week. Salvador Salas
“Tourism is doing more for Spain than we are doing for tourism.” The Minister of Finance and Public Administrations, Cristóbal Montoro, was very expressive on Monday as he publicly recognised this sector’s contribution to the economy during a forum on ‘Finance, the administrations and a way out of the crisis’, organised by Diario SUR.
Sr Montoro was keen to point out that tourism “is already pulling Spain out of the crisis” and insisted that the government “has no intention” of putting IVA on tourism up again. He also promised that “the opportune policies” would be adopted in terms of infrastructure, promotion and legislation in order to continue to increase competitiveness within the sector, because “its capacity to bring growth has still not come to an end”.
Cristóbal Montoro justified the previous rise in IVA on tourism because “we have to respond to circumstances”. He pointed out that at that time the country’s risk premium was at 750 basic points, but he also ruled out the idea of IVA being reduced again soon “because tourism has to get us out of the crisis and it is already doing so with its contribution to the balance of payments”.
Earlier in the conference, the mayor of Mijas, Ángel Nozal, had also spoken briefly about the fact that the Costa del Sol would be the “launching pad” for the exit from the crisis, precisely because of the strength of its tourism.
In the Minister’s opinion, two of the macroeconomic reforms which are currently under way, the restructuring of the banks and the separation and sale of their property assets, will favour the Costa del Sol and Andalucía, because of the effect on the property sector and residential tourism. “It will have a very positive effect because it will allow these assets to be sold at market value. There will be international investors and a demand for investment,” he stressed. He also announced that the government has decided to increase the attraction of Spain through other fiscal measures which will encourage people from other countries to set up residence here. “We have to be a residential country and this requires us to have infrastructure, public services and to be a safe country,” he concluded.
The end of the tunnel
The Minister had no qualms about providing an answer to the million dollar question put to him by SUR Editor Manuel Castillo. When will Spain’s crisis end? 2014.
“2013 will be difficult, but with a smaller recession than this year, and economic growth and recovery of credibility in Europe will come in 2014,” he explained. “2013 will be the last year of crisis for Spain, and from then on we will start to take off,” provided, of course, they continue to implement the necessary cuts and reforms, he added.
Law against tax fraud
Sr Montoro also spoke about the benefits of the law against tax fraud which was approved in early October and which in his opinion is “the most rigorous that has ever existed in Spain”, and he defended the so-called ‘media inspections’ that are taking place in major companies. “The public needs to know about these things. Why can’t a minister make public the identity of someone who isn’t paying their taxes? Why should we be embarrassed about that?” he asked.