The Director General of Ministry of Transportation said, as part of the Port2Port 2008 event, that the Israeli economy is absolutely dependent on the functioning of the ports
Gideon Siterman, Director General of the Ministry of Transportation, spoke at the "Private Sector vs. the Public Sector" session held at the Port2Port 2008 Shipping and Logistics event.
The Director General of the Ministry of Transportation, who until recently was the head of a large accounting office, said in his speech that governments in general, and the government of Israel in particular, are not built on their performance or financial management ability as is expected in the private sector.
Mr. Siterman added that the government does not relate to the issue of time in many cases, and does not quantify it, and in most of the cases this causes a delay in many projects. "The non-quantification of time as a resource creates distortions and we, the citizens of the country, pay the price of this distortion every day," said Siterman. "Time," he added, "can provide an economic value of hundreds of millions of shekels. If we would conduct processes by a time factor, we would be able to save on our budgets and divert them to the benefit of medications for instance."
Siterman further said that in the public sector, there is no culture of periodic reports as it exists in the stock market for instance. "There is no reason why offices who manage billions do not give any periodic reports."
Siterman also related to the Second Lebanon War, which broke out a short time after he took on his post as Director General of the Ministry of Transportation, and admitted that as a citizen, he was not aware of the tremendous importance of Israel's ports to Israel's economy. "Israel's economy is absolutely dependent on the functioning of the ports and the functioning of the entire logistical supply chain."
Siterman also mentioned the night work pilot that has recently begun at the Haifa port, and said that "We have brought the private sector into the night work pilot at the Haifa port. The economic capital of the State of Israel is not exploited 24 hours a day. Such a thing is unthinkable in the private sector. Everything is inter-connected, and together it creates added value."
Regarding the privatization of Israel's ports – an issue that has recently been placed on the public agenda at Israel's three ports – Siterman said that there is nothing to prevent the beginning of the process now, and that in his opinion, we must include the private sector. According to him, the privatization can begin the moment the disputes between the port companies and the IPC are settled and precise financial reports are produced for each port corporation – something that will apparently happen by the end of the next quarter.
Siterman also related in his speech to the logistical operations report issued by the World Bank two months ago, which ranked Israel in 33rd place out of 150 countries. According to Siterman, this is a low ranking, and Israel must strive to be among the first 10 countries in the world. "If we are good in this field as well like we are good in technology and hi-tech, we can grow by five, six, or even seven percent a year. We can create a budget where the government deals with issues like health, education and welfare, we can shift resources to the private sector to do tasks that the government does not need to do."