This morning, Minister of the Interior Ayelet Shaked and Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister's Office Avraham ("Abir") Kara announced relaxations in regulations for small business owners that will come into force with Shaked's signature and do not require legislation in the Knesset.
After other measures to aid small businesses became stuck in the Knesset and in the Ministry of Finance, Shaked and Kara have come out with an initiative that can be carried out immediately, partly out of concern that Knesset elections might be brought forward. Under the timetable presented by Shaked, the draft of the new regulations has been circulated for public comment, and they will be signed in two and a half weeks' time.
Shaked said that, despite objections by other ministries, she had decided to carry out the reform in its entirety. The main thrust of the reform is that food, cosmetics, and medical device importers will not have to obtain a business license.
The owners of these businesses will henceforth have to obtain a manufacturing or importer license only. According to the figures presented by Shaked, this means a saving of NIS 40,000 for a business owner. In addition, bakeries, wineries, and small chocolate and food manufacturers, which up to now needed both manufacturer and business licenses, will no longer need a business license. This will save such business NIS 45,000.
Shaked and Kara also announced that restaurants, cafés and pubs that sell alcohol and have up to now needed approval from the police will no longer need it. This will save a business NIS 10,000. Licenses will also no longer be required for puncture repair shops, transport of raw milk, transporting vehicles, and small businesses in shopping malls. Shaked said this would save an aggregate half a billion shekels a year for some 44,000 business owners, and much time in dealing with extra bureaucracy.
In a further measure, the validity of business licenses will be extended. For old age homes, pubs, swimming pools, malls, games halls, water parks and ritual baths, the extension will be from five years to ten. For butchers, the extension will be from one year to five, and for hotels it will be from ten years to fifteen.
"This is a revolution in this area," Shaked said. "Tens of thousands of businesses that had to waste time and money vis-à-vis the local authorities will be able to do everything more quickly, more cheaply, and more simply. We are going to save about half a billions shekels annually on bureaucracy, and three million business days over a decade. Business owners will no longer have to deal with several regulators, but with one."
Kara, who led the initiative, said, "We have to remove all the heavy shackles from business owners. When we look at business owners, I always see the obstacles, and today we have taken a significant step. It's a continuation of the Economic Arrangements Law. There are 13,700 businesses in Israel for which we are going to save time. The ordinance that we are putting forward today relates not just to new businesses but to existing businesses as well."
Two weeks ago, Kara was on the point of leaving the government, but after talks with Shaked and Prime Minister Naftali Bennett he eventually decided to remain part of the coalition. In exchange, he demanded immediate measures to help the small business sector, which he is considered to represent in the government. He also held meeting with Minister of Finance Avigdor LIberman. The measures announced today are the first of several likely to be implemented that are not dependent on the Knesset, in which the government no longer has a majority.
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on May 1, 2022.
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