Brosh: Business to Get NIS 2.5b Windfall

Shraga Brosh, president of the Manufacturers Association, said yesterday he'd reached understandings with Uri Yogev, an economic adviser to the prime minister, that the business sector would get NIS 2.5 billion in support.

The money is part of the package deal with business and labor leaders that upset treasury chiefs, who took the step of asking for the attorney general's ruling on the legality of some proposals.

Brosh also chairs the Bureau for Coordination of Economic Organizations, which agreed that companies should pay more into the National Insurance Institute in the year 2010. Companies should cover the NIS 550 million budget increase for the institute that year, the bureau agreed.

The understandings were reached on Monday night. Today the "package deal" agreement is scheduled to be signed by Brosh, Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz, and Histadrut labor federation leader Ofer Eini. Whether that will happen under the circumstances remains to be seen.

Other agreements that the business leader reached with Yogev include state subsidies of leave for workers, to prevent dismissals. Apparently the mechanism will involve a shortened work week. The upshot is that certain benefits of the workers wouldn't be impaired, even if leave is unpaid.

The state will also set up a fund to help companies in distress, under the coalition agreements, according to Brosh, and provide up to NIS 6 billion in export guarantees. Medium-sized companies with turnovers of NIS 15 million to NIS 400 million a year would be entitled to loans guaranteed by the state.

Brosh said that he'd managed to get rid of a number of planned "economic decrees," including a plan to increase tax on gasoline, and to jack up tax on locally produced alcohol. He'd also managed to reverse the government's intention of raising the port tax applicable to exporters, Brosh said.