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Italian Cabinet Approves €25b Stimulus Package

The Italian government yesterday approved a stimulus package totalling €25 billion (RM123 billion) to revive an economy battered by the coronavirus crisis.

Italy was the first European country to be hit by the pandemic and a more than two-month lockdown dealt a severe blow the economy.

“We are protecting jobs, we are supporting workers, we are reducing the tax burden, we are helping the regions,” Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte told a press conference after a cabinet meeting.

Under the plan, there will be greater tax benefits for Italy’s southern regions, which are far less developed than the industrial north.

“We are aware of the lack of infrastructure in the south which is less competitive and we want this gap to be breached,” Conte added.

The plan, which also calls for cruise liners to resume sailing from August 15 and for trade fairs to take place from September, has to be approved by parliament, where the government enjoys a majority.

There is a provision for emergency monthly payments to vulnerable families ranging from €400 to €800 to be extended, and a sum of €500 million alloted for overtime payments to stretched health workers.

Conte also said social distancing and face masks would be mandatory until September 7, adding: “These are the minimum rules.” — AFP

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