Italy allocates $3.5 billion in additional support to meet energy costs

Italy allocates $3.5 billion in additional support to meet energy costs
Italy allocates $3.5 billion in additional support to meet energy costs

The government also plans to extend a tax cut on sales at gas stations (AFP)

On Wednesday, Italy approved a package of measures of about 3.3 billion euros ($3.50 billion) to help households and businesses weather a sharp rise in energy costs amid a shortage of supplies from Russia, ministers said.

The package comes on top of more than 30 billion euros allocated since January to cushion the impact of sharply rising electricity, gas and petrol costs that are putting pressure on growth prospects in the euro zone’s third-largest economy.

The plan focuses mainly on extending measures to reduce electricity and gas bills for companies and families to the third quarter of the year.

A draft published by Reuters showed that under the plan, gas importers would have to pay a contribution every month until March 2023 to reduce consumers’ energy bills.

Family Minister Elena Bonetti told reporters that the government also plans to extend a 25-cent-a-liter cut in fees for sales at gas stations, which is due to expire on July 8.

Meanwhile, Italy says it plans to make the country’s gas storage system at least 90 percent full by November, in line with the European Union’s target, up from 55 percent now.

Italy relies heavily on Russian gas, which represents about 40 percent of the gas it imports, knowing that it imports 95 percent of its needs, and it began efforts to diversify its energy sources in the wake of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Italian energy giant Eni, 30.3 percent owned by the state, opened an account in euros and in rubles at Gazprombank in late May in order to settle its payments for the supply of Russian gas.

Despite this, Gazprom last week reduced gas supplies to the Italian company Eni, and Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi stressed that the lack of supplies “has repercussions, not on consumption directly, but on storage.”

Russian gas exports to Europe have fallen steadily since the start of sanctions against Russia, and Gazprom has suspended gas deliveries to many European customers who refused to pay in rubles.

(dollar = 0.94 euro)

(Reuters, The New Arab)

The article is in Arabic

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