The Economics Committee is working to amend the Postal Law: "Open the mail area to competition"

Knesset Economics Committee, chaired by Ha"As Michael Bitton, today (Tuesday) she continued her preparation for the second and third reading of the proposal to amend the Postal Law. The amendment is mainly intended to implement the recommendations of the Rosen Committee, which recommended, among other things, to open up the postal sector to competition, to carry out a reform in the foreign packaging industry."To and expand the supervisory and enforcement powers of the Ministry of Communications and the Minister. At today’s hearing, the committee approved the clause that would allow the opening of the individual mail competition (the individual letters). However, in other sections, which dealt with the postal company’s ownership of printing houses and the possibility that the company would provide additional services, a dispute arose and no votes were taken. However, there were"R. Bitton reiterated that the committee will ensure that the consumer service will not be harmed or even improved, and called for agreements to be reached regarding the treatment of quantitative mail.

VP"To the Postal Administration at the Ministry of Communications, Oren Lavian, explained that the Rosen Committee recommended expanding the competition in the field of individual letters, and the ministry seeks to allow full competition so that the field will not be exclusive to the postal company. there were"R. Bitton clarified that he would not allow competition to be opened in a way that would harm consumers.

A storm arose around the section, when a number of Knesset members claimed that it was a matter of privatizing the distribution of mail. Ha"Gabi Lasky said she is in favor of a universal postal service monopoly and it is not clear to her how to go about this move even before deciding on the future of the postal company. Ha"Yael Ron Ben Moshe added that Knesset members do not receive answers regarding privatization, and only read about it in the newspapers.

Ha"Nira Shefek said that Knesset members had not yet received answers to the question of the usefulness of the reform. Ha"About Yaakov Margie said that the Ministry of Communications should carry out internal work and return to the committee with perfect privatization, then there will be no misunderstandings. Ha"Kar Shefa added that no question asked in the previous debate was answered, so it is not clear why the vote begins. there were"R. Bitton explained that the general discussion was over, so the committee moved to the discussion stage in the sections and votes. H"About abundance insisted that no answers were received and there were"R. Bitton asked to be removed from the hearing.

US"Messer’s company, Avshalom Haran, said that there are still 100 million individual mail items a year, and opening the market when all collection and distribution infrastructure is controlled by the Israel Postal Company will not lead to competition.

CEO"The Ministry of Communications, Liran Avishar Ben Horin, replied that the government decided in 2014 to privatize the postal company and this has not yet happened, so the said section came to regulate the situation and improve customer service regardless of the privatization question, adding: "If the mail crashes we will all pay the price". The representative of the Ministry of Finance, Sapir Ifergan, added that even if privatization, these changes will not be necessary.

As stated, at the end of the heated discussion in the section the committee approved it. Ha"As Shefa asked for a re-discussion, but later withdrew, but again wanted to know what the goals of the reform were.

The committee then discussed a section designed to allow the postal company to enter other areas of activity, provided it notifies the Minister of Communications two business days in advance. Avishar Ben Horin explained: "If the post office wants to put on its shelves alcohol in the Corona period today it needs the prior approval of the Minister".

Ha"Zvi Hauser warned of a situation in which the post office would use its branches and turn them into malls or law firms, and Ministry of Communications officials explained that if the minister saw a breach of the postal service he could act and monitor. H"As Hauser insisted and demanded to know what activities were involved, he asked if Fox, for example, could operate in the post offices. CEO"To the Israel Post, Danny Goldstein responded in the affirmative. Hauser warned of a situation where the postal services "Will be given between two and four", And Avishar Ben Horin replied: "It can not happen". Ha"About Limor Magen Telem asked if it would not make the queue longer, and Lavian replied: "If that happens we will intervene". H"C. Lasky said the section prepares the ground for privatization and turning branches into malls.

VP"Dan Carmeli, who responded to the lawsuit and order in the Israel Postal Company, said that the post office loses NIS 200 million a year and if the clause is not passed, it will reach insolvency. As for the level of service, Carmeli said that the Ministry of Communications will not allow not to provide good service to the public.

there were"R. Bitton concluded the discussion in this section and asked for a new wording, which would allow the postal company to enter additional areas only after notification to the Minister delivered 14 days earlier, when the Minister has the authority to approve or reject the activity, or approve conditions provided it does not harm public postal services. Also, if the Minister sees in the future that this harms the service he will be able to revoke the permit.

The committee also began to deal with a section designed to allow the Israel Postal Company to partially own a printing house, in order to provide quantitative postal services. Here, too, a controversy arose in previous discussions, when printing companies sought access to postal distribution centers. there were"R. Bitton asked the Ministry of Communications to think of an agreed solution that would allow the post office to enter the printing world in a certain period of time, to allow the printing presses to prepare, and at the same time the Israel Post would open its distribution centers and proper pricing supervised by the Ministry of Communications.

As stated, the sections dealing with the permit to provide additional services to the postal company and the printing section were not voted on, and the discussion on them will continue in the coming weeks.

Photo: Knesset Spokeswoman Noam Moskowitz

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