Italian government allocates 420 million euros to revamp economy

The Italian government allocated on Friday 420 million euros through a special decree aimed at supporting the country's slow economic recovery.

According to a press release by the government's headquarters, 300 million euros will go in incentives to boost internal consumption levels, 70 million euros in fiscal drags for the textile sector and 50 million euros to support the aerospace, naval industry and local television and radio broadcasting.

The stimulus package was presented by Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, Economy Minister Giulio Tremonti and Industry Minister Claudio Scajola.

The consumption incentives regard primarily green home technology, cleaner motorbikes and farm machinery purchases. Among other measures, a voucher plan for young people who want broadband Internet access.

The 420 million euro package will boost innovation, environmental sustainability and cut down on the unemployment level in the country that has reached over 8 percent.

Berlusconi praised the decree as an instrument immediately effective that will revamp the economy and help citizens in a critical moment.

"We are emerging from the crisis, not extremely quickly, but certainly," said the premier, who noted that the downturn was global but Italy was performing better than other European countries.

According to most national and international institutes, the Italian economy is today out of recession but faces a slow and uncertain recovery. The national statistics office Istat reported on Friday that industrial turnover rose in January by 2.7 percent compared to December 2009, but that orders fell by 2.8 percent.

In a statement, Scajola said that the stimulus package was essential if Italy planned to reach the target of a 1 to 1.2 percent growth in gross domestic product (GDP) this year.

Given that the 420 million euros package is funded primarily by recovered taxes from abroad, "it will have a positive, not a negative effect" on the state's balance sheet, Economy Minister Giulio Tremonti guaranteed.

[Source: Xinhua, Rome, 19Mar10]

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