Italian premier vows govt to pay businesses in the fall

Letta puts outstanding bills high on agenda

Italian premier vows govt to pay businesses in the fall

Rome, July 4 - Italian Premier Enrico Letta on Thursday said the government would focus in the autumn on paying tens of billions of euros worth of the public administration's overdue bills to private businesses. Letta verbalized his commitment during a parliament summit in Rome, government sources said. Early last month, the Chamber unanimously passed a bill approving payments on outstanding debts to businesses. The bill was passed by 508 votes and should allow the government to pay up to 40 billion euros in overdue bills by the end of next year. Repaying the debts has been seen as important tool in providing the recession-plagued economy with a shot-in-the-arm of liquidity. Italy's industrial association Confindustria has issued several loud calls for payment on the overdue bills to help relieve the credit crunch that has been strangling Italian businesses, and claims that the real total owed is actually well over 100 billion euros. Unblocking the public administration's payment of some 40 billion euros overdue to its suppliers was a goal set by the former technical government led by Mario Monti.

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