Italian Government Accepted CONFAPI's Proposal to Reduce the Time Available for Payment Among Private Companies

Our Italian member CONFAPI achieved an important result at national level: the Italian Government has accepted the need to reduce the time for payment even in transactions among private entities, as confirmed by the approval of the so called Simplification Decree. This is a battle CONFAPI has been fighting for a long time. Finally it succeeded in obtaining a regulation concerning late payments among private entities: the new law limits the acceptable delay of payment in transactions among private companies to no more than 60 days.

Nowadays, in Italy the time of payment in private transactions could reach up to 150/180 days and this represents a substantial obstacle to the competitiveness of SMEs. According to a recent Confapi research, SMEs’ debt would decrease of 55,45% if the timing of payment is reduced to a 60-day credit / debit cycle.

CONFAPI President Maurizio Casasco said: “This important result represents a first step, and not just a symbolic one, on the path of improving SMEs’ activities and supporting them to be more competitive. We hope SMEs can once again be the centre of the political and economic action of the country, as they deserve.”

As a matter of fact, the European directive 2011/7 about the regulation of payments for commercial transactions ruled time of payment between public companies and private enterprises. It provides that there are exactly terms of 30/60 days for public administration to pay credits to private companies and provides for financial penalties if the terms are not respected.

The reality is that the concrete application of this directive is completely disregarded and the SMEs, a weaker contractual party than big industries, constantly suffer from contractual terms of payments that force them to act "as a bank" to their customers.

Each European country recognises the directive in different ways. For example, in a Italy specific time limit in private business was never set, with the only condition that it couldn’t be unfair for the creditor; in Germany, like in Italy, there is a specific limit for creditors. Instead in Spain there is the specific time limit of 60 days to pay private and public business. In France too there is the limit of 60 days.


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