Treasury targeting Israel's poor business ratings in 2017 budget

Finance Ministry preparing a package of reforms that would tackle Israel's ignominious place in the international rankings.

Business colleagues [Illustrative] (photo credit: INGIMAGE)
Business colleagues [Illustrative]
(photo credit: INGIMAGE)
Will 2017 be the year that Israel reverses its persistent plunge down the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business rankings? Finance Ministry director- general Shai Babad says it will be.
Speaking at the Israel Democracy Institute’s annual conference on Tuesday, Babad said that the ministry is preparing a package of reforms that would tackle Israel’s ignominious place in the international rankings, cutting out bureaucratic steps, payments, and hassles associated with starting a new business.
Those reforms would ultimately be introduced as part of the upcoming economic arrangements law, the economic plan that accompanies the budget each year.
In the past seven years, Israel has dropped 30 spots, from 23rd in 2009 to 53rd in 2016 in the rankings, which measure costs, number of steps, and wait time required for business-related activity.
For example, Israel ranks 56th on measures of red tape and costs associated with starting a business, 96th in dealing with construction permits, 127th on registering property and 103rd in paying taxes.
In the registering property index, the World Bank notes that the process requires going through 6 procedures, waiting 81 days (compared with the OECD average of 21.8) and incurring costs equivalent to 8.3 percent of the property value (4.2 percent in the OECD).
Babad said that the ministry has groups focusing on each of the areas in the index, and is making plans to consolidate steps, reduce costs, make payments easier, and so on.
The results, he said, would be incorporated into the economic arrangements law.