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Italy will settle the debt arrears it owes to private sector suppliers by the end of this year, Economy Minister Pier Carlo Padoan said in a newspaper interview on Sunday, pushing back previous commitments. The Italian state owes some 75 billion euros to private suppliers, according to the most recent data from the Bank of Italy. The unpaid bills have starved companies of cash and triggered layoffs, factory closures and bankruptcies. Prime Minister Matteo Renzi promised in March to pay back all the debt arrears by July. Within a week he put back the target date to September. The government is finding it hard to tackle the problem because of public finance constraints, inefficiency, uncertainty over exactly how much is owed and a reluctance on the part of some public bodies to acknowledge their debts.



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