Israel’s Finance Ministry is planning a series of tax and tariff cuts aimed at curbing rises in food and energy prices, according to a report Monday.
Yedioth Aharanoth reported Monday morning that under Finance Minister Avidgor Liberman, the ministry is planning a number of measures aimed at combating the surge in consumer goods prices, with an emphasis on food, gasoline, and electricity.
The new measures include planned reductions in the gasoline tax and significant cuts to import taxes on meat, fruit, vegetables, and dairy products.
The report also said Prime Minister Naftali Bennett had surprised Finance Ministry officials with his direct involvement in a recent internal ministry deliberation on the cost of living, with Bennett showing up to the meeting unannounced.
Some senior ministry officials are opposed to major policy changes, citing the recent decisions by some food producers to either delay or cancel planned price hikes.
"In the coming days, we will present to the public a series of measures designed to alleviate the cost of living in the country,” Bennett said. “I hope it will soon have effect, especially in food prices.”
“These are things that will have an immediate effect. Several containment measures have already been taken on the issues of the marketing chains and importers, and I would like to commend the Minister of Finance and the Minister of Economy for that."
"In the end, what lowers prices and improves service is always the same thing - competition, competition, competition. Here I want to turn to government ministries - we need to ease regulation and open the economy to competition. Do not be afraid, be bold. A good standard for Germans or Swedes, probably good enough for Israelis as well. A 150% difference in the price of toothpaste, for example, is not justified. I remember that as Minister of Economy I lowered the price of yellow cheese. How? I opened the cheese market for import and competition, yellow cheese came in from Poland and also lowered the price of Israeli cheeses.”