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Italy ready to introduce Treasury shake up plan, minister says

FILE PHOTO: Confidence vote over the 2023 budget, in Rome

By Giuseppe Fonte and Angelo Amante

ROME (Reuters) - Italy's Economy Minister Giancarlo Giorgetti said on Wednesday the government was poised to pass a decree reorganising the Treasury, adding that the proposal could be discussed by the cabinet as early as this week.

Sources have previously said Giorgetti was planning to split the influential ministry's Treasury department into two, creating a unit in charge of managing state-controlled companies, such as energy majors Enel and Eni.

"We are ready," Giorgetti told Reuters in parliament.

The cabinet is expected to meet on Thursday at 1500 GMT, government officials have said.

Giorgetti's project is part of efforts by the right-wing administration of Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni to put its stamp on the state bureaucracy.

Giorgetti and Meloni last month ousted powerful Treasury Director General Alessandro Rivera, replacing him with veteran economist Riccardo Barbieri.

Under the new initiative, one of the two departments would be devoted to public debt management, macroeconomic policies and European and international relations - which Barbieri would manage.

The other would handle state-controlled firms, public assets and financial regulation and is expected to have its own director general. The chairman of state-owned airline ITA Airways, Antonino Turicchi, a former Treasury official who is seen as close to Italy's right-wing, is under consideration to run this.

Giorgetti is also due to decide by the end of February whether to confirm or remove some Treasury officials in charge of managing, amongst other things, European relations, financial regulation and state intervention on the economy, such as public guarantees on banking loans.

In addition, the economy minister is trying to tighten his grip on appointments and sources say a directive might soon be passed to ensure his office handles all the main steps of an imminent round of nominations at top state-controlled firms.

A number of senior roles will be up for grabs in the coming weeks, including bailed-out bank MPS, power grid Terna, defense group Leonardo as well as the boards of Enel and Eni.

Reuters reported in January the government was considering replacements for Enel CEO Francesco Starace, while Eni chief executive Claudio Descalzi appeared on track to secure a record fourth mandate.

(Reporting by Giuseppe Fonte and Angelo Amante; Editing by Crispian Balmer and Barbara Lewis)