Like many industrial sectors, the machine tool sector, which has a great weight in the Basque Country and which also leads this activity at the national level, has been severely hit by the economic crisis generated by Covid-19. A) Yes, the balance for the year 2020 released yesterday by the Basque sectoral association AFM shows a drop in income of 21.42%, to 1,277.8 million. This has led them to directly demand greater economic support from the Basque Government, in line with the latest measures of the central Executive, articulated through the National Machine Tool Renewal Plan endowed with 50 million. This request, due to its content and forms, has caused great discomfort in the Basque Executive, especially in the department headed by Arantxa Tapia. To the point that the council demanded “a clarification” from the AFM association “in order to continue working in the correct area of public-private collaboration” maintained for years.
The controversy arose as a result of the declarations of César Garbalena, president of AFM, who through a note with the annual balance of the sector, said that “from AFM we applaud and appreciate the commitment of the institutions that have opted to provide a budget of 50 million euros for the first National Machine Tool Renewal Plan in the history of Spain». But then he explicitly asked “the autonomous administrations”, adding that “especially the Basque one”, to “complement these funds in a decisive and forceful way in a year as critical as 2021”.
- 50 million
The first Plan Renove of Spain arrived by an amendment of the PNV to the Budgets of 2021
This request “especially” addressed to the Basque Government caused great “strangeness and” discomfort “in the Department of Economic Development, Sustainability and the Environment, in which Basque industrial powers fall and headed by the Minister Arantxa Tapia. Sources from his cabinet reported that they consider “inadmissible” for AFM to address the Basque Administration “in the terms referred to in the note.” They recalled that historically the Basque Executive «is the only Administration in the entire State that for years has launched a Plan Renove Maquinaria exclusively and alone -without complements of any kind from the rest of the institutions-, to support a sector that we consider essential for the Basque industry ».
Already in 2014, when the previous economic crisis was still raging, the Executive of Vitoria launched those Renove Machine Tool plans, which were reissued year after year and which at some moments had a budget of 9 million. In 2021, the Basque Budgets once again include the Renove Maquinaria 4.0, endowed with 5 million.
Likewise, the Basque Executive stressed that the first Renewal Plan of the central Government, with its 50 million and praised by the sector, arises thanks to an amendment of the PNV to the State Budgets of 2021.
Both reasons, “which are public and recognized” by AFM, led the Tapia department yesterday to demand “a clarification in order to continue working in the correct area of public-private collaboration.”
The Government insisted that it is “very aware of the difficulties” that the industry is going through with this crisis; Hence, today it will announce the Business Aid Plan 2021, which specifies the support for all sectors.
For AFM, the articulation of more aid for the sector, including the request to the Basque Government, is “urgent” so that “these programs can be implemented within the first quarter, which could boost demand.”
For this 2021, AFM has “renewed expectations” based on the slight dynamism in the acquisition of orders in the last quarter of last year, but points out that “it seems that the sector will have to wait until 2022 for the return to true normality” after the Covid.