Growth package announced
Prime Minister Mario Monti announced a package of measures to grow the economy following yesterday’s eight hour Cabinet meeting.
The prime minister said that the “Italian economy has been slowed down by three major obstacles: insufficient competition in the markets, inadequate infrastructures, and complex administrative procedures in all fields”. He went on to say that “We are trying to provide Italians more freedom from hidden taxes and fees that are imposed by those in positions of privilege”.
The people he was referring to include, taxi drivers, lawyers, pharmacists and a number of other professionals who have jealously guarded their professions and made liberalisation hard to achieve. Although the measure came in with immediate effect, they have to be approved by parliament within 60 days.
The package includes;
• Lawyers minimum fess will be abolished. Lawyers have said that they will strike for two days in February
• 500 more notaries will be licensed with up to 2,000 being added eventually
• More taxi licences will be issued and their granting will be taken away from local authorities and put into the hands of a national agency. Taxi drivers are going on strike on 23rd January in protest
• More pharmacies will be allowed
• Newsagents will be able to sell whatever they want and will be free to vary prices
• Petrol stations won’t be tied to one company but will be free to shop around for the best fuel deals
• Red tape on stting up a new business will be scrapped.
The same Cabinet meeting also approved a €5 billion investment package which includes infrastructure projects, more school and house building, environmental renovation and more support for the south.