Juanma Moreno at the meeting in Carmona. / Joaquín Corchero

The Andalusian economy has already lost 600 million euros through the hauliers’ strike

The president of the Junta is calling on the government to reduce taxes on fuel with immediate effect and to sit down for talks with the organisers of the protest

Héctor Barbotta

The hauliers’ strike which is now in its tenth day has already caused losses of 600 million euros to the Andalusian economy, according to the regional government. The figure refers to the whole of the food supply chain, including the primary sector, distribution and bar and restaurant businesses.

The president of the Junta de Andalucía, Juanma Moreno, has no doubts about how to resolve the conflict and insists the answer is an immediate tax reduction on fuel, especially the rate of IVA. “The whole country is waiting for decisions to be made,” he said on Tuesday after a meeting of the regional government in Carmona.

Vice-president Juan Marín also pointed out that the food sector is suffering most from the protest action, and this is exacerbated by the fact that some fishing fleets are also staying in port, adding to the shortages.

Moreno believes the decision needs to be taken quickly. “We are in favour of reducing all the taxes associated with hydrocarbons,” he said. He also criticises the government for refusing to hold talks with the organisation which has called the strikes. It is a minority platform which the government says is not representative, and is accusing it of using violence to achieve its aims.

Due to this situation and its serious repercussions on the economy, the Junta has approved a package of five measures from the Ministry of Economic Transformation, Industry, Knowledge and Universities to preserve the competitiveness of industry in Andalucía amid the international crisis over raw materials and supplies.

These include guaranteed loans for small and medium businesses and the self-employed, totalling 15 million euros. The Junta believes about 600 businesses in the manufacturing industry are likely to take advantage of the offer, with loans of around 25,000 euros each.