Analysis-Skill shortages in Southern Italy can hinder recovery drivers.

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A man begs on the streets of Naples, Italy, on November 20, 2021.Reuters / Shiroderka

November 25, 2021

By Crispian Balmer and Angelo Amante

Bari, Italy (Reuters) – Italy’s poor southern mayor needs to enjoy a multi-billion euro outlook from the European Union’s pandemic recovery fund, but due to lack of project management expertise, the scheme It may not be fully utilized.

Italy wants to receive € 191.5 billion ($ 215.5 billion) in grants and loans over five years from the € 750 billion kitten, the largest beneficiary of the 27 EU countries.

A resilience fund focused on green transition, digitization, education and sustainable infrastructure has the potential to support the modernization of the Italian economy through thousands of projects, especially in the developing South.

Antonio Decaro, mayor of Apulia’s Bari, the heel of Italian boots, told the government’s roadshow promoting the project, “This represents a unique and special opportunity for us.”

“But in order not to miss this opportunity, we immediately need qualified people to proceed with these projects.”

Other mayors also said there was a lack of qualified staff to create, manage and monitor the projects they wanted to pursue.

Leoluca Orlando, which operates Palermo, the major city of Sicily, said that only one tech manager was authorized to approve bids for EU projects, while Gaetano Manfredi, the mayor of Naples, the largest city in the south, said the tech manager Said not.

“It’s a ridiculous situation,” Orlando told Reuters.

The south accounts for more than 30% of Italy’s population and more than 20% of the country’s economic production, and the gap between the center and the north is widening. To help it catch up, it is to receive 40% of Italy’s EU funding.

The austerity measures of the years following the 2008 financial crisis have had a particularly big impact on the already-debt southern government, forcing it to reduce staff.

According to a survey by the Bank of Italy, the number of public sector workers in the south fell by 27.8% between 2008 and 2018, while it fell by 18.5% in the north. It has traditionally a proven track record of resource management.

Accelerating decline

The shortage of skilled human resources is already felt.

All 31 proposals rushed by Sicily for irrigation projects last month were rejected because they did not meet the strict EU standards.

Antonino Sila, head of the agricultural sector on the Mediterranean island, said Reuters was partially responsible for the tight deadlines, but a general lack of expertise hurt his area.

“There is a gap in Sicily. We need talented people … we need a generational change. The average age of our (state) employees here is 60 and we need a new graduate of 30 years old,” he said. Said.

Metso Giorno, or “noon” in Italian for the South, has been lagging behind the rest of the country for decades, but the division has accelerated in this century.

Gross domestic product per capita is about 40% lower in the south than in the north, while the unemployment rate is 16.7% compared to 6.1% in the north. The youth unemployment rate is 43.3% compared to 20.8%.

The government expects the EU Fund to raise Italy’s production by 3.6% by 2026, with significant progress expected in the South.

However, Brussels has expressed concern about the region, which has a poor track record of using regular EU structural funds.

“The role of local governments in implementing reconstruction plans is a potential weakness,” said Marco Buti, Chief of Staff of the EU Economic Commission Paolo Gentiloni.

“There is a natural bottleneck, especially when looking at the southern part of the country,” he said during his visit to Italy this week, citing a lack of experienced managers.

Attractive talent

Bali currently has about 1,800 public sector workers, about 1,000 less than the city’s staffing plan envisions, but Manfredi makes the most of the EU funding provided by Naples. He said he thought he needed at least 1,000 employees to do so.

“We know we’re lacking in skills,” Innovation Minister Vittorio Corao told senior officials and businessmen at a government roadshow at a packed Bali theater.

“As a ministry, we can give partial help, but it’s impossible to think we can do everything. What I want is a business or local government. It’s about pooling resources. “

Roberto Garofoli, who is in charge of implementing the National Reconstruction Plan, told the Balinese audience that small teams from various state agencies will be dispatched to help manage the project.

The government has also promised to hire 2,800 people in the South to work on the program.

Although there were only 800 qualified applicants in the initial bid, many experts complain that short-term contracts that pay around € 1,500 a month are unattractive given the skills required. I did.

The government is currently revising the terms.

“Management machines are worn out and have lost expertise,” says Garofoli. “This is a problem we have inherited from decades of spending cuts, not from past governments. It’s a big problem that can’t be solved in a few months.”

($ 1 = 0.8884 euros)

(Additional report by Silvia Ognibene in Florence, edited by Catherine Evans)

Analysis-Skill shortages in Southern Italy can hinder recovery drivers

Source link Analysis-Skill shortages in Southern Italy can hinder recovery drivers

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