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Bailed-Out Portugal Puts Focus on Growth Policies

By Associated Press - Apr 23, 2013 at 12:25PM

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The government announced plans Tuesday to provide companies with tax breaks and up to 4.5 billion euros ($5.8 billion) in credit, facilitate licensing for investments, and widen training programs.

LISBON, Portugal (AP) -- After two years of relentless austerity and steep recession, bailed-out Portugal's government is adopting new measures to spur growth.

The government announced plans Tuesday to provide companies with tax breaks and up to 4.5 billion euros ($5.8 billion) in credit, facilitate licensing for investments, and widen training programs.

Pay and pension cuts, coupled with tax hikes, have hurt the economy and helped push the jobless rate to 17.5 percent.

The government says it can't stop austerity because Portugal must honor a 2011 agreement that granted it a 78 billion euro bailout and demanded debt reduction.

But public outrage at ongoing sacrifices, and few signs the country's fiscal health is improving, have undone the broad national consensus around the bailout terms and compelled the government to place greater emphasis on growth.

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