Sergio Lloret - President of Fuerteventura's Cabildo
“We are aware that we won't get out of this situation only through the efforts of public institutions”
We are meeting with the president of the Government, Sergio Lloret to get his views on the new year 2022 and to get an update on all the projects and novelties.
Can you give us a summary of those last few months at the Government?
Those last 10 months were difficult, as we were submitted to the public health restrictions related to the Covid. We were aware of how difficult the situation was at the time, we had to face pandemic level three and as a consequence, it made it tough for businesses financially. We had to take all necessary actions to deal with all the tendencies at the time, and we managed.
Yes, but we feel like we are on a roller-coaster with this virus...
We were in the same situation during the summer, despite that, we managed to save the summer, and it was kept under control, and now it happens again for Christmas. But we are optimists and I believe that with the adequate measures, which have already been taken during our last general meeting, we will manage to get out of this situation. When we arrived at the government, we announced a series of actions and strategies, which were the pillars for the government for the past year and now, humbly, we can say that we came through. The first one we decided on, was to provide social support for all the families in need. I believe that we made the largest effort in the history of social cooperation, which always went through the ayuntamientos. It was a programme with the largest budget, both to help families and to improve the manpower in the ayuntamientos because, despite the financial support, they were short of people to carry out the initiatives. Another plan was to generate employment and save the production tissue of the Small and Medium-sized businesses and self-employed workers. We invested 11 million Euros, for the first time in the history of the Cabildo. Already, during Fitur, we were very preoccupied with saving the summer campaign, which didn't end up too bad, and we had a lot of hopes for the winter campaign. Despite the public health situation all over the world, the winter is still undetermined, because the measures taken in other countries affect us, logically.
It seemed that we were even expecting growth, isn't that right?
Initially, we forecasted a 30%growth for German tourism compared to 2019, and even a 16% increase for the British market compared to 2019. Fear paralyses, and people travel less than usual, and we are back in a state of uncertainty. Another important strategy that we put in place,was the investment in infrastructures and public services, which is usual in times of crisis to help get out of financial recession. It is not to squander, but it has allowed for large necessary projects to be undertaken. We also had the advantage of the suspension of tax rules regarding accumulated cash balances. We were paying €2.000 in interest to banks for having money with them. This suspension enabled us to use those funds to take care of some necessities on the island. Investment in public services is very complicated to manage, and we made an effort for the transversal coordination in all areas in order to speed up the projects.
Can you tell us about one of the projects?
There is for example the Hydraulic Plan to renovate the whole freshwater system of the island. This isn't a new problem, but it is the first time that it is being done, with a well-defined road map and in collaboration with the ayuntamientos. It represents a 160-million-Euro investment to create the required infrastructures to solve the supply of freshwater on the island. I believe almost 20 millions of our own funds have already been invested. The most important challenge is to create a desalination plant in the southern area of the island. This project will start at the beginning of the year, which will decentralise the Water Board. The intention is to create other desalination points in various areas of Fuerteventura.
And what about the other strategy you were talking about at the beginning of the interview?
It is also an ambitious project, it is a system for a transparency and coordination mechanism. We are aware that we can't all remain on our own, therefore, the Cabildo has offered complete cooperation with all the ayuntamientos to solve problems and cover the necessities of the population in each municipality. The most obvious effects will be noticeable at the beginning of the year. We have assigned a budget of 60 millions to it, at a rate of 15 millions per year over the next four years. We are doing it in a public manner and they all know what each municipality is doing, there is no favouritism and then each ayuntamiento can add on to those funds with their own.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
We are also aware that we won't get out of this situation only with the efforts of public institutions, we must help the private sectoras much as we can. This is why there is a plan which is aimed at improving the human resources of each ayuntamiento's technical office, to speed up processes and permits. This is a plan that is already in place and giving results.
And a last few words for the population?
I only would like to finish by wishing everyone responsibility and optimism for the new year 2022.