War Against Bureaucratic Red Tape

A group of senior Israeli officials has been working quietly for the past few months under the direction of the Prime Minister’s Office, planning a war against one of the country’s worst enemies — bureaucratic red tape. One reform, expected to be instituted before the end of the year, is the issuance of a single identification number (ID) to every citizen.

The one number will replace the jungle of digits that every Israeli must now carry in his head or on his person: army number; tax number; national insurance number, driving license number and many more. All government deportments will be plugged into a single national computer at the Interior Ministry which will use the ID number to simplify bureaucratic procedures.

The reforms represent the collective labors of a committee comprised of the director generals of all government ministries. It is chaired by Mattityahu Shmuelwitz, Director General of the Prime Minister’s Office. An immediate result of his committee’s work will be the distribution shortly of a government pamphlet explaining in simple language the procedures involved in 100 bureaucratic transactions, from obtaining a birth certificate to securing a permit to import a car.

Shmuelwitz is working especially hard to simplify the labyrinthine procedures that foreign investors must endure. He is hopeful that the time involved in consummating on investment in an Israeli enterprise will be reduced to a few weeks from the present waiting period of several months to a year. Under the new plan, the would-be investor will be required to submit his plans to a single office where they will be reviewed by representatives of the relevant authorities. The investor will not be required to make the rounds of various departments to seek approval, on exhausting, often frustrating process which sometimes results in the investor deciding not to invest.

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