Thursday, March 7, 2013

Sicily's Provinces Abolished

Until yesterday, Sicily had seven provinces. They have been abolished. Now, as the result of a law passed by the regional assembly, our island will have less bureaucracy to impede its hoped-for economic prosperity. The former provinces will continue as geographic administrative districts, but unlike actual provinces these will not be obligated to maintain costly "mini-ministries" and overpaid bureaucrats like the useless provincial presidents and their staffs. There will be less redundancy and waste, and more accountability.

It so happens that the infamous provincial presidents were up for election next month. In effect, the positions they were hoping to win no longer exist. No problem, however, for the numerous provincial employees, who will be transferred rather than fired.

Last year, in a prescient move, the regional government abolished provincial licensing of tour guides - who can now work anywhere in Sicily. That's the kind of deregulation we'll see in 2013 as the role of the provinces disappears.

The island's recent attempts to reduce public spending, corruption and sloth are being observed with interest around the country as examples of policies to be implemented nationally.

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