Israel Government Reconsiders Its Industrial Investment Policy

The Ministry of Commerce and Industry is reconsidering its industrial investment policy because of the recent financial difficulties of several enterprises receiving such investment aid, Michael Tsour, director general of the Ministry, declared today.

The Ministry supervises government loan grants to new and expanding industries from the national development budget, and its loan policies have been the target of sharp criticism from economic experts. They have contended that loans have been granted without adequate investigation of the economic justification of such investments, and that large sums consequently have been spent on mismanaged enterprises.

Mr. Tsour said that the Ministry has named a special committee to establish new criteria for Government investments. He said that, among the possible changes, will be a policy of Government investment only in limited liability companies. Another anticipated change will be a policy of providing loans against company stock–thus securing influence on company management, instead of the present system of long-term loans.

He said that, to offset possible objections a government influence on company policies from such an arrangement, the value of the shares to be acquired by the Government would not be linked to the dollar. At present, development loan repayments are linked to the dollar.

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