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Renzi delights in 'disproving the ill-wishers'

Premier says govt commitments kept in economic blueprint

09 April, 10:53
Renzi delights in 'disproving the ill-wishers' (ANSA) - Rome, April 9 - Premier Matteo Renzi took to Twitter early on Wednesday to say that his government had proved the "ill-wishers" wrong after presenting the executive's economic blueprint for the next three years.

The the Economic and Financial Document (DEF) features plans for annual income tax cuts of 10 billion euros targeting low earners, a cap on the salaries of top public-sector managers and higher capital gains tax for banks.

"The #DEF maintains all the commitments we had made," Renzi said via his Twitter account, @matteorenzi, with the hastag #allafacciadeigufi - "in the face of the ill-wishers".

"Those who have never paid are starting to pay," he added in a message posted at 6:29 Italian time Wednesday after his cabinet approved the DEF Tuesday.

Renzi - who unseated Enrico Letta, his colleague in the centre-left Democratic Party (PD), to become Italy's youngest premier at 39 in February - said the cuts will mean an extra 80 euros in the monthly pay packets of low earners.

To finance the income tax cuts, the government needs to find around 6.7 billion euros for the remainder of this year.

The premier said around 4.5 billion of that will come from savings generated by a review of public spending.

Approximately another billion will be raised by making the country's banks pay higher taxes on their stakes in the Bank of Italy, with the rest coming from sales tax revenues, Renzi said.

The DEF, which needs to be approved by parliament quickly so it can be delivered to the European Union by the end of the month, forecasts that the Italian economy will grow 0.8% in this year. That is higher than the European Commission's prediction of 0.6%, but less optimistic than the 1% of the last forecast of the Letta administration. The blueprint put Italy's deficit-to-GDP ratio at 2.6% this year, under the EU threshold of 3%.

The DEF said government should raise up to 12 billion euros from the sale of assets and stakes in State-controlled companies in 2014, with 10-12 billion euros more coming in 2015, 2016 and 2017.

The document also confirmed the government's plan to set a cap on the earnings of public-sector managers to the 238,000-euro annual salary of President Giorgio Napolitano.