Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon promises more aid for Israeli exporters, faster connection to the gas supply, and special measures for Israel's high-tech sector.
Against a background of slowing economic growth in Israel, Minister of Finance Moshe Kahlon announced "measures to encourage growth" today, among them aid for exports, a new loan fund for small and medium-size businesses, expediting the hook-up of factories to the natural gas supply, and measures to accelerate growth in high-tech.
"One of our most important tasks is to encourage growth in the Israel economy," Kahlon said, "We are therefore presenting a package of measures that will help make the economy grow. We are doing this after submitting to the Knesset a state budget without spending cuts or an increase in the burden, a budget that brings real hope for the Israeli people."
The steps announced by Kahlon are:
- Guarantees for Ashra, the Israel Foreign Trade Risks Insurance Corporation. State guarantees for exporters will be expanded by $800 million.
- $300 million in guarantees for banks providing export insurance.
- State guarantees totaling $50 million for exporters bidding in tenders, to reduce the amount of the sureties they need to provide.
- A new loan fund for small and medium-size business, replacing the current fund. Exporters will be able to obtain loans of up to 12% of turnover, compared with 8% today.
- A special loans track for farmers, enabling farmers to obtain state loan guarantees of 85%, compared with 70% today.
- Expediting of a growth fund to be managed by the private sector that will invest in target companies (excluding high-tech, real estate and finance) for up to 10 years , on a model similar to a private equity fund. The fund will have a budget of NIS 225 million, that will be leveraged to provide loans totaling up to NIS 900 million.
- Implementation of the recommendations of the committee examining the Law for the Encouragement of Capital Investment, with the aim of boosting the activity of large international firms in Israel, encouraging IP activity in Israel by adapting the law to the needs of knowledge-intensive companies, and instituting proactive measures to attract international companies.
- Faster connection of factories to the natural gas supply, with a new regulatory model designed to give faster permits, removal of obstacles to laying the distribution network, and more efficient processes with fixed timetables, and an exemption from the need to obtain a building permit.
- Regularization of crowd funding in order to vary the sources of funding for technology companies.
- Allowing non-bank credit providers to issue bonds, to enable easier financing of businesses and investments.
- On high tech, encouraging capital raising through stock market offerings, measures to boost the supply of engineers, promoting the cyber security sector through collaboration with the Prime Minister's Office and the National Cyber Bureau, setting up a technology innovation authority, promoting an Angels Bill to encourage investment in early-stage technology companies.
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on September 24, 2015
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Moshe Kahlon pohoto: Tamat Matzapi