In May 2012 the government led by Prof. Monti launched a very ambitious program. The program was intended to provide enterprises and businesses with liquidity, simplify the payment mechanism between suppliers and debtors and reduce the risk of public entities inactivity.

In line with the above mentioned objectives, four measures aimed at reducing the long delay of payments due from public entities were issued by the Government during 2012. The measures have introduced the possibility of accessing to a simplified online procedure in order to obtain an official acknowledgment (“credit certification”) of debts towards public administration and other public entities, including Regions and other local entities. The procedure concerns credit items registered up to 30 April 2012. For that purpose companies and other enterprises are required to register their credits onto a specific online platform with the aim to get the online credit certification. Having the Government enter into an agreement with ABI (Italian Bank Association), the certification allows private creditors to obtain credit assignment, bank factoring and other bank support. As regards credit assignment, creditors are given the opportunity to avoid formal requirements related to the drawing up and notification of the authentic instrument by using the online procedure.

In this respect, the Ministry of Economy and Finance has recently issued some operating instructions. It has been pointed out which public entities are included in the procedure.

As to the local entities, despite the precarious financial situation of most hospitals (which has a strong impact on accounts of many Italian Regions), the operating instructions establish that Regions put under a specific financial program due to the healthcare system debt are able to issue the credit certification.

It is worth noting that the measures are also intended to allow companies and enterprises to use credit certification with the aim to settle State and local tax payments registered up to 30 April 2012. Moreover, providing creditors obtain the above mentioned certification, the measures envisage the creation of a guarantee fund (Fondo centrale di garanzia) in order to carry out pro solvendo factoring activity.

Provided that certifications are released, payments shall be made within one year from the formal request. However, it is relevant to stress that outstanding credit towards public bodies shall meet several specific characteristics to be admitted to the procedure. It is, therefore, important to discuss your options with your lawyers.