The state will set up a NIS 4 billion fund to provide cash assistance to businesses affected by the coronavirus crisis, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced at a cabinet meeting today dealing with the outbreak of the Covid-19 virus in Israel. NIS 2 billion, half of the fund, will be set aside for loans to small and medium-sized businesses.
Asked on Galei Tzahal (Army Radio) where the money would come from, Minister of Economy and Industry Eli Cohen said, "We have our resources," and claimed that the Ministry of Finance had a surplus of over NIS 10 billion this year resulting from the implementation of continuation budget.
Minister of Finance-designate MK Nir Barkat (Likud) called on the government today to initiate a national emergency program "based on large-scale direct aid for the purpose of rescuing the civil aviation and tourism sectors, which are currently in a state of collapse, and to help the business sector as a whole to survive the crisis." Barkat added, "Direct aid and a safety net for the economy will moderate the extent of bankruptcy, layoffs, and unemployment, and enable the economy to recover rapidly following the crisis."
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on March 8, 2020
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