Italy: Minister calls for fighting corruption


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The Independent Online

Italy's Justice Minister has warned corruption is hampering the country's economic growth and that Prime Minister Mario Monti's government will push hard in parliament for a tough anti-corruption law this week.

Justice Minister Paola Severino, citing World Bank estimates, said yesterday that fighting corruption could boost Italy's GDP by 2 to 4 per cent. Kickbacks in awarding contracts can boost overall costs and discourage investors from doing business.

Ms Severino spoke on the sidelines of an annual closed-door economic forum at Lake Como.

Mr Monti, a former European Commissioner who is leading a non-elected technocrat government, was reportedly coy at the forum about calls from some centrist politicians that he run for election this spring when parliament's term ends. He was appointed in November to save Italy from the eurozone sovereign debt crisis.