Giovedì, 18 Ottobre 2018
ROME

Confindustria sounds alarm, calls for growth

English
© ANSA

(By Sandra Cordon) Rome, May 23 - The government must
move very quickly to cut taxes and deliver other growth policies
if it is to save the Italian economy from collapse, the head of
the country's powerful industrialists' association Confindustria
said Thursday following a 3% plunge in early trading on Milan's
leading financial market.
The Italian and European markets were weakened over fears
triggered by manufacturing reports that Asia's two largest
economies - China and Japan - are showing significant signs of
stress.
Growth must be the nation's single most important objective
in order to pull Italy out of the longest recession in recorded
history, Confindustria President Giorgio Squinzi said.
Otherwise annual growth will remain stalled at levels of no
more than 0.5% - well below the rate of inflation, and well
below what is needed to generate employment and higher
productivity, he said.
"The goal must now be just one: a return to growth,"
Squinzi said at the organization's annual assembly in Rome.
The country's well-being depends on learning to "leverage
its resources," to boost the economy, he added.
Italy is now stuck in the longest recession on record with
seven straight quarterly drops in gross domestic product (GDP)
amid rising costs and unemployment all making it harder for
individuals and companies to improve their lot.
Last week, national statistics agency Istat reported that
GDP fell 0.5% in the first three months of 2013.
Weakness in Italy's northern industrial base is a harbinger
of the trouble to come, warned Squinzi.
"The north is on the brink of an abyss...that would drag
our country back a half-century," Squinzi warned.
That weakness, developing in what has traditionally been
the country's economic and industrial base, is a clear sign that
the government of Premier Enrico Letta must develop strong
policies to boost growth, he added.
Cutting business taxes is essential to encouraging
investment and growth, said Squinzi.
The government's recent decision to suspend the unpopular
IMU property tax was a good start, but more is needed.
"We appreciate the commitment that the government has taken
with the IMU decree, (and we) ask for a tax to support those who
create and distribute wealth, transparent and respectful of the
rights of citizens and businesses," he said.
Squinzi also called on the government to slash other
business taxes, including social security contributions.
He particularly singled out the regional tax on productive
activities (IRAP) for reform.
Such measures would help business to grow and add
employees, he said, describing unemployment as "the mother of
all social evil".
"Joblessness must be countered in a balanced and structural
way, adjusting costs, productivity and regulations," said
Squinzi.
"Companies are ready to support government action with
investments and employment".
According to forecasts released earlier this month by
Istat, unemployment will rise to 11.9% this year, up 1.2% in
2012, and climb further still in 2014 to reach 12.3%.
Youth employment reached 38.4% in March, 3.2% higher than
the same month in 2012, the statistics agency said.

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