JERUSALEM (Oct. 3)
One-third of the 450,000,000 pounds loaned by the Government to industry since the establishment of Israel have been repaid, Pinhas Sapir, Minister of Commerce and industry, told the press today.
He also disputed the contention of a recent State Bank survey that most of the financing for industry came from the Government’s Development Budgets, asserting that funds from these budgets amounted to not more than 15 percent of the loans. He added that all development loans to industry were linked either to the dollar or to the cost of living index.
The Minister said that in view of the satisfactory profit position of industry in Israel generally, industry would be asked to absorb an additional wage bill in January to meet the regular cost-of-living allowance increase due then. He added that while it was felt that most firms could successfully absorb the rise, there was no reason to charge industry as a whole with making excessive profits.
He also warned that Israeli banks would have to reduce profits and charges, even if this was at the expense of “progressive” working conditions including such bonuses as a 13th and even 14th monthly salary. He predicted that exports this year would total $280,000, 000.