ROME - The Italian government has issued a decree raising the excise tax on petrol by 0.02 euros per liter in order to raise funds for the victims of the earthquake that struck Tuesday in the northern part of the country, Corriere della Sera reports.

Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti did not rule out also raising the value added tax in order to fund reconstruction efforts. Help has also come from the European Union.

The Italian government also decreed that a minute of silence be observed June 4 for the victims of yesterday’s quake. The 5.8-magnitude event is believed to have killed 17 people.

The governor of Emilia-Romagna, the region hit by the earthquake, welcomed the tax contribution and said “Italians will understand” that the rise is necessary. But a consumer group called Codacons said the hike was ill-advised, La Repubblica reports. The organization said the rise represented 29 euros a year for a car driver, and that a “domino effect” on prices of other goods was to be expected from such a measure.

Later in the day, Development Minister Corrado Passera asked petrol companies to lower their profit margins in order to compensate the hike. 


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