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Only small sales for State property

23 February, Il Sole 24 Ore

The value of the available assets managed by the State Property Office that could be put on the market since they have no “strategic” functions is worth 2 billion euro, distributed between 15,160 properties valued 130 thousand euro on average.

These modest numbers curb the enthusiasm of the political parties during the electoral campaign, with promises coming from the right wing (lots worth 25 billion) as well as from left wing (4% more in GDP). The real figures coming from State properties give little joy, while the best results come from enhancement projects, which help investments and reduce the current expenditure but not the public debt. The people from the Government should have already realised that for direct experience, as 300 million euro is going to be invested to make improvements in the lighting and heating systems with the aim of saving 50 thousand euro per year (15% of the total costs).

The PM Paolo Gentiloni himself believes in this idea: “The State Property Office is not a real estate agency – he explained after having listened to the director Roberto Reggi presenting the assets of the Agency for 2017 – single sales are possible, but promoting the properties is the best way to support the public expenditure”. He attacks the idea that the next administration will be “the administration of miracles”, as parties during the electoral campaign like to think, rather he prefers to think it will be “ the administration of reforms”, with occupation as the first concern of “who has to take the decisions”, along with public debt, “that must be reduced in a progressive and sustainable way since it’s a burden for the development of the country”. Whereas, according to the undersecretary for the Economy Pier Paolo Baretta, many projects for selling public assets were based “on a distorted vision of the situation that led to strategies in contradiction with the wealth of State properties”.

The combination of selling and promoting is shown in the figures that the State Property Office presented. Between 2014 and 2017, public assets have reduced by 3,883 properties (now they are 43,185), but their value has increased by 4.5% (now it’s 60.45 billion). The reason for such increase is the investments in maintenance and enhancement, never made before 2014, that reached last year 2.23 billion: 1.51 billion regarded energetic optimization, antiseismic implementation, public construction and suburbs, the other 1.72 concerned the reorganization of public buildings gathering in just one place several public offices previously scattered in different locations. Of these type of facilities, there are currently 38 planned, from Valle d’Aosta to Sicily. According to Reggi, “they’ll permit to stop renting from privates, cutting the expenses by 77 million and saving over 200 million by 2022”.

Source: Il Sole 24 Ore

Translator: Cristina Ambrosi

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