Government meeting for debt-repayment plan delayed

New date to be announced in 'upcoming days'

Government meeting for debt-repayment plan delayed

(see previous) Rome, April 3 - A cabinet meeting slated for Wednesday to decide on a government debt-repayment plan to private companies has been delayed, the economy ministry said. The government announced that Wednesday meetings originally scheduled for 10 am, then postponed to 7 pm, instead will be held "in the upcoming days". Earlier on Wednesday the economy ministry denied rumours that would be turning to regional income tax hikes to fund debt repayments to companies. Government officials met on Tuesday to set out a time line for the 40 billion euros in debt payments and to establish tax measures for doing so. Italian Economy Minister Vittorio Grilli said last Thursday the government would not borrow money to pay back the public debt to the private-sector over the next two years, which it hopes would give a much-needed boost to the country's recession-hit businesses. "We hope that eventually the rights of the companies will be recognized," Giorgio Squinzi, the head of Italy's powerful industrial employers' association Confindustria, said. "Businesses are suffering desperately from the lack of credit. There is a sense of despair affecting many entrepreneurs," Squinzi said. The government announced plans last week to pay back debt by 20 billion euros in 2013 and 20 billion euros in 2014. Business associations have said it is not enough. Italian media reports have suggested that the government might try to get the funds from bond sales or spending cuts.

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