The project aims to repopulate the three southern regions, where brain drain and emigration in recent years have led to a mass decline in the population.
The government is still to discuss the proposal, which hopes to bring 600,000 new tax residents to the three trial regions within three to four years.
Pensioners would have to spend at least six months and one day in one of the three regions where the project would be trialled, reports Repubblica.
Said to be a brainchild of Alberto Brambilla, a key advisor to Interior Minister Matteo Salvini, the policy is geared at luring many southern émigrés who moved to the north of the country for work back to their roots. But it would also be open to foreigners who wished to take advantage.
Only municipalities in the three regions that met certain preconditions would be able to benefit. Authorities in each area would have to prove that they have experienced a population decline of at least 20 per cent in the last decade.
They would also have to show that they have a health system that is equivalent to some of their northern Italian counterparts, as well as meeting other parameters such as demonstrating that efficient procedures exist for waste collection.
The scheme, known in Italy by the acronym Zes-Aas (“special economic zone-high social acceptance”), would replicate a successful policy which has already been in place for some years in Portugal. Panama, Mexico, the Canary Islands, Tunisia, Cyprus, Malta and Romania have all implemented similar incentives for pensioners, according to La Voce Cosentina.
While retirees who opted for the program would be exempt from tax, economists behind the idea argue that the southern regions would make up any lost income on VAT, while the boost from consumer spending would also reinvigorate the depressed local economies.
The Zes-Aas programme is aimed at retirees but its creators argue that a lot of young people would follow, creating jobs and new economic opportunities in southern Italy.
According to Tiscali News, the project could add 1 per cent to GDP, generating between €17 billion and €18 billion for the Italian economy.
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