"If you were to tell me today that the coronavirus crisis will cost the economy NIS 50 billion and that's it, I'd say, fine, that's OK," National Economic Council chairman Prof. Avi Simhon told "Globes" yesterday.
"I don't believe that we'll be in an emergency economy within the next few days. That is what the prime minister decided, and for the time being we're not there. If that does happen, then NIS 50 billion will be an underestimate of the cost," Simhon said.
"The Ministry of Finance has decided to go to the Knesset to ask for a supplementary budget," he added. "We spoke about this ten days ago, and they were somewhat hesitant. Now, the minister of finance has decided to he will go ahead with it. Within another week or two they'll raise the aid on offer. Clearly we'll expand the fiscal deficit, and substantially too."
Simhon said that self-employed people would be the most harmed. "For wage-earners, we have a safety net," he said. "The self-employed will lose not because they haven't acted correctly; they have been completely fine. The Ministry of Finance has promised that it will provide a certain amount for the self-employed, between NIS 4,000 and NIS 7,000 monthly. That's a very small amount of course. We have to think what more we can do."
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on March 17, 2020
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