[Ed. Note: This post is made up of two closely related stories that appeared just days apart about a week ago. In essence the subcontractors building and maintaining MoSE have not been paid, and CSV, the contractor, has no money and no source of ready funding. How does this square with all the talk about the acceleration of work and absolute necessity for MoSE to work, and quick?]
MoSE, businesses not paid: risk of work stoppage in February
The companies write to the Government: “If there is no money we will not proceed. First we must be paid for the projects already completed”
29 January 2020
By Alberto Vitucci
VENEZIA “If work that is already completed is not paid for and financing guaranteed for the continuation of MoSE, all work activity will be suspended starting on 1 February, only guaranteeing conditions of minimal oversight”.
A genuine ultimatum was sent yesterday evening by the Consulting Committee of the Consorzio Venezia Nuova that is, from representatives of the “minor” companies that are part of the single concession for the construction and maintenance of MoSE.
A letter with clear tones was sent to Council President Giuseppe Conte and to the Ministers, special Administrators of the Consorzio, to Commissioner Spitz, and to the Mayor and Prefects of Rome and Venice. The letter is signed by the representatives of the six local businesses Devis Rizzo (Consorzio Kostruttiva), Massimo Paganelli, Giovanni Salmistrari, Renzo Rossi, Giacomo Calzolari and Luigi Chiappini.
In the letter, apart from the “acceleration” of the work, the companies complain of a lack of attention, and of missing payments even for projects assigned last year with the Contract signed among the three parties.
In essence, accuse the companies, for a year there has been talk of “speeding up” the completion of MoSE. To finish the work the installations must be done, as well as a substantial amount of maintenance work to the system, up to the deployment phase. This means huge resources that must be found, in some cases “overruns” to what has already been set aside for the work.
The companies, we read in the letter, have contracted to guarantee the protective maintenance and security of the sites and the infrastructure at the three mouths of the port, which is “essential for guaranteeing the completion of the installations for the hoped-for raising of the dams”. But without money nothing gets done. The golden age is over, when the Consorzio took in billions from the State before even beginning the work. Now with the Consorzio, felled by the bribery scandal, under Special Commission has to pay – justly – for the work being done.
“But in our case it isn’t so”, protest the companies, “this summer we worked based on contracts signed by all the parties. But we have not even seen one euro”. It’s an alarm that as of today has not yet been answered, despite the numerous meeting that have been held in the prefecture and the assurances that MoSE will be finished for December 2021 and ready for emergencies after 30 June 2020. But without being paid, the companies are not prepared to go along. Thus the warning, “without an urgent resolution of these problems and the availability of the needed sums without delay, the work on MoSE will be suspended”.
MoSE, in search of money from the banks, will the Lagoon be “privatized” to pay the loans?
Meetings in Rome with credit institutions. The State does not offer guarantees, so public assets could be used as securities
By Alberto Vitucci
2 February 2020
The Lagoon privatized to pay the costs of MoSE. A science fiction scenario? Perhaps. But it is among the ideas being discussed these days to find as soon as possible the liquidity needed to accelerate the work. The Consorzio no longer has any cash on hand. The State is taking a great deal of time to make money already set aside available. So they need to go to the banks. At one time there was the BEI, the European Investment Bank. The Consorzio requested financing from the Comitatone then executed the loans. The State paid the interest. Funds were available immediately, often before the work was completed or even begun.
After the bribery scandal the system changed, with reductions in costs, the State’s commitment, and long delays. Now the problem is becoming almost dramatic. The Consorzio is unable to move forward and pay salaries. Subcontracting companies are demanding payment for work already completed. Politics are pressing for the work to be finished quickly. But there is no money. For 2020 alone at least an additional 200 million Euro is needed for testing and movement of the dams.
So a delegation from the Consorzio, made up of administrative director Elena Doni and special administrator Vincenzo Nunziata has requested a meeting with the big banks, Unicredit and Intesa San Paolo. The response has been that in order to grant loans and credit “securitization” was necessary. In case of default, in short, the banks become owners of a piece of the Lagoon (or of MoSE), just like happens with bankruptcies and private loans that individuals fail to pay.
This is a disturbing scenario, because in this way the system of securitization that was introduced with sale of public properties could also be applied to the Lagoon. “There is no decision, we are evaluating various ideas”, says Superintendent of Public Works Cinzia Zincone, “it is true that there is a problem with liquidity and that the funds must be found. It means understanding if we should pay interest or use other methods”.
But now there’s MoSE to finish, with all due haste. The deadline has been confirmed for 31 December 2021, when the tests in rough seas will be finalized, along with the installations and final testing. By 30 June the dams are supposed to be ready to be raised in cases of emergency. But for all of this there has to be money, and there still isn’t any.
Source: La Nuova Venezia