Responses were quick to come to yesterday's publication of the Sheshinski committee's interim recommendations. The committee proposes increasing the state's share of revenue from current and future oil and gas discoveries to two-thirds from the current one-third, while taking into account profits by the oil and gas companies.
Fischer said, "I welcome the recommendations on oil and gas discoveries, which are national treasures of Israel." He noted the principle underpinning the committee's work - that oil and gas field developers deserve a fair return on capital that takes into account the risk they took, their entrepreneurship and determination, which resulted in discoveries in Israel. "This principle supports honorable entrepreneurs who have contributed and contribute greatly to the Israeli economy, and we should encourage them to continue on this path. I believe that the hearings and final decision will be fair to the entrepreneurs and good for the Israeli economy," he said.
MK Shelly Yacimovich (Labor) said, "While the recommendations are modest, they are definitely significant and important. The method of raising taxes and not touching royalties is applied in many countries around the world. Now it must be made certain that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will implement the recommendations in full, and will not capitulate to pressure by the tycoons who want to the public get only the leftovers from the country's natural treasures."
Knesset Finance Committee chairman MK Moshe Gafni (United Torah Judaism) said, "The government should consider the investors, but the natural treasures that G-d gave Israel belong to the country's citizens."
Federation of Israeli Chambers of Commerce Oil and Gas Exploration Industry Association in Israel chairman Uri Aldubi said, "After thousands of years, Israel is again building pyramids in Egypt. The Sheshinski committee is deepening the discrimination against Israeli gas in favor of Egyptian gas."
Aldubi added, "The oil industry is the foundation of Israel's economic future, and a proper country acts to help companies in the industry in order to contribute to the country's prosperity, and achieve energy independence. Israel ought to do the same.
"We're talking about a strategic industry for Israel and immense geopolitical consequences for the country's future. The Association therefore calls on the prime minister to show responsibility on this matter, take a strategic perspective, and put a halt to this unilateral process."
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on November 11, 2010
© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2010