The Italian government is about to introduce a first set of measures to make last year’s reform of the public administration effective. Two measures should be particularly relevant for the revision of public shareholdings: (1) reshaping of the regulation and governance related to state-owned enterprises at different levels of government and (2) reorganisation of the functions and funding of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Handicrafts and Agriculture.
There is a huge potential for restructuring, streamlining, downsizing which, together with mergers and acquisitions, should allow a number of companies owned by local governments to be privatised over time or closed down. This will not only lead to a reduction in the stock of public debt but, more importantly, to less corruption and bad management, as well as higher economic efficiency.
Beyond the actual economic impact, it would be a key signal—a confirmation that the government is committed to continue the reform process, notwithstanding growing political uneasiness.