Israel’s PM makes a weak start

The Israeli Finance Ministry is preparing a rolling budget for a 20 month period. Great – should cut out the usual financial uncertainty that would be expected to accompany the 2010 budget, as it would hit the Kenesset debating tables later this year.

But hang on, so what are the brave new measures of this new government?

The press has received leaks re the upping of tax on mobile phones given to employees. Wow! Tourists may be required to pay VAT on hotel bills. Staggering! Increased taxes on petrol. Clearly a sop to the green vote on the backs of the poor.

As for structural changes, well, public housing may be sold off through enhanced use of the financial sector. Again, not exactly earth shattering stuff. And so on.

Bibi Netanyahu has been in office for 2 months. Consider his experience. He is a former Finance Minister and former Prime Minister. And this is all he can come up with?

No strategy. Just a set of measures cobbled together. Vague mutterings of tax cuts delayed to 2010. No help for abandoned rail projects. No kick-start measures for SMEs, still coping with the awful paperwork and credit demands of local banks.

Compare that to the efforts of the Bank of Israel, which is demanding that Israeli banks conduct their affairs with far greater transparency and less recklessness. For example, whatever the outcome over the board of Bank Hapoalim, the country’s largest bank, the industry knows that the rules have been changed for the future. 

And the stock market has responded positively following the BOI’s efforts.

So, why do I write about Bibi and not his Finance Minister? Because the minister is a novice. In this week’s round of discussions with cabinet members over budget cuts, the individuals are being invited to the PM’s office. The Finance Minister is not even expected to be present!

It is too early to give a first term report or hand out marks. But on his performance to date, Bibi is merely dabbling with the economy. His spin has not covered that up. The economy demands more. The people deserve better.

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One Comment on “Israel’s PM makes a weak start”

  1. […] All about mens bags added an interesting post on Israel’s PM makes a weak startHere’s a small excerptAnd the stock market has responded positively following the BOI’s efforts. So, why do I write about Bibi and not his Finance Minister… […]

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