KKL-JNF agrees to cover NIS 1 billion in state projects

C'tee advances plan to partly privatize state-owned companies.

October 5, 2014 19:45
1 minute read.
Binyamin Netanyahu and Yair Lapid

Finance Minister Yair Lapid (R) sits across from Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu at the cabinet meeting in Jerusalem.. (photo credit: REUTERS)

The Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael- Jewish National Fund agreed in principle on Sunday to carry out NIS 1 billion worth of government projects in 2015, in exchange for the government dropping legislation that would squeeze the organization for royalties on natural resources.

Last week, the Finance Ministry included the NIS 1b. from KKL-JNF as part of its budget plan, using it to reduce its planned expenditure plan and bring the draft 2015 state budget down to its 3.4 percent deficit target, both of which exceed the legal limits.

At the time, KKL-JNF blasted the government for trying “to nationalize private resources and companies through coercion.”

Though the details of the deal were not finalized Sunday’s meeting between KKL-JNF and Treasury representatives, the basic principles for moving forward were agreed upon.

The KKL-JNF agreement was just one of several budget-related items forging on ahead of Tuesday’s cabinet meeting to approve the budget plan.

Several other important parts of the government’s economic plan for 2015 progressed on Sunday as well.

The social cabinet approved plans to partly privatize stateowned companies. The plan would see stock issued for a minority share in the companies involved – between 25% and 49% – giving the public and investing institutions a stake and some sway into how the companies are run.

The plan, which will apply to the Israel Electric Corporation, Israel Aerospace Industries, Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, Israel Railways, the Mekorot national water company, the Israel Postal Company and the Israel Natural Gas Lines Company, is expected to provide the state NIS 15b. over the next three years.

Another bill, intended to boost investment by amending the Angel investor law, passed the Ministerial Committee for Legislation and thus will get backing from the coalition.

The amendment would allow investors to get tax breaks when they provide seed funding to select early stage companies.

Economy Minister Naftali Bennett said that the amendment could have a helpful side effect: By making start-ups a more attractive investment than real estate, it could reduce pressure on the inflated housing market.

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