PM Netanyahu at cabinet meeting 311.
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
The cabinet on Sunday is expected to approve a string of measures to bring down living costs, including opening the country’s cement market to competition, and removing duty on Internet purchases of up to NIS 1,000.
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A statement put out by the Prime Minister’s Office on Saturday evening said the steps were part of the government’s implementation of the Trajtenberg Committee’s recommendations on sweeping socioeconomic change that was approved in September. The Trajtenberg Committee was established following the massive socioeconomic protests of the summer.
According to the statement, the cement market will be opened to
competition and the prices of cement will be under supervision in order
to bring down housing costs. Israel’s cement market is controlled by
Nesher Israel Cement Enterprises, which – according to a Haaretz
earlier this year – is believed to control more than 90 percent of the
market. Nesher is a company in Nochi Dankner’s IDB group.
A 2007 Knesset report found that in 2007 cement sold in Israel was 30% more expensive than in neighboring countries.
Regarding purchases over the Internet, the Prime Minister’s Office
statement said that a decision to do away with duty on purchases was a
significant benefit to the consumer, since duty on these items currently
raised prices by “dozens of percent.”
Other steps that the cabinet is expected to approve include:
• Putting the price of dairy products and eggs under supervision in order to bring down their prices.
• Strengthening the Antitrust Authority to give it more effective tools to “monitor deviations in the economy.”
• Increasing the number of bodies providing public transportation to reduce prices.
• Reducing the price of natural gas for homes, bringing it in line with prices paid by businesses, and
• Increasing competition in the fuel market by opening 40 new gas
stations, and placing the price of diesel fuel under supervision.