Troika still rules Portugal
Portugal’s President said some days ago what many think and few have the courage to say: WE HAVE TO CHANGE AND CREATE JOBS! - writes Jack Soifer.
The Troika imposed what already had gone wrong abroad, such as the privatisation of public services. The theory was that they would be more efficient and that the supervisory agencies would stop abuses by the dominant corporations. In the UK, the government is trying to regain control over the railways while in Sweden the privatisation of some electricity distributors is being reconsidered.
In Portugal, the sale of most of EDP’s voting shares to a Chinese group resulted in a brutal price rise. Granting the distribution to only three foreign giga-corporations resulted in a mega increase in complaints, without ERSE (the regulator) fining them for their abuses. We now have seen an obligatory reduction the price per Kwh but EDP simply increased the fixed fee, which the regulator, ERSE, does not regulate; this resulted in an increase in prices, especially for the poorest users.
In Northern Europe it is the large users, such as supermarkets and industries that can invest in renewable energy, such as IKEA does with solar panels, which pays more when consuming more.
For 15 years, telecoms regulator, ANACOM, has answered to any complaint with a standard phrase saying it is not a branch issue, rather uniquely, and that the client may file a lawsuit. Most customers do not do this because of the high cost and the knowledge that telecoms providers use lawyers with friends in courts. Telecoms always win the case in the low court or on appeal.
“ANACOM answers with standard phrase saying that it is not a branch issue … POST in the future will worsen distribution to give more profit to foreign owners … In other countries, in the Council of Agencies there are representatives from local associations.”
And now, the Post Office (CTT)! In the majority of countries where PART of the final distribution of post has been privatised, it has leased out some of the post offices or closed them to allow kiosks that are open until 8 or 10 pm to receive and deliver letters to better serve the citizen. I do not know of any civilized country where the main collection and distribution of post has been privatised.
The Complaint Portal tells that the express post service, Correio Azul, now has an increase in delays of 212%! There are 5,776 unresolved claims, late deliveries, to the wrong site, lost and damaged orders. Of course! The new owners of CTT are financial funds with no experience in dealing with letters and packages. The key one, who allegedly influenced the privatisation rules, according to a meeting with their deceased former representative in the previous government, invested because of an existing authorisation for the Post Office Bank, which had yet to be used. This fund would hardly be allowed by the ECB to operate in the EU. Its only interest is Banco CTT and its huge potential profit. CTT borrows to pay dividends. In the future it will worsen distribution to give more Euros to foreign owners.
In my area, delivery went from daily to weekly. Many oldies get bills to pay the next day and suffer from worry. This led suppliers to force direct debit payments. Many oldies are no longer able to check their accounts; this facilitates systemic errors, always in favour of the supplier. On energy bills, the ‘estimate use’ is always in favour of the supplier dealer, which uses clients’ cash for 3 months, without ERSE interceding.
In most countries, the Council of Agencies has representatives from local consumer associations, parents and teachers, small trade associations and citizens who turn ideas into good practices.
Privatisations? Who won, who lost?
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