FILE PHOTO - Palestinian Finance Minister Shukri Bishara gestures during a news conference in Ramallah, in the Israeli-occupied West Bank February 21, 2019. REUTERS/Mohamad Torokman FILE PHOTO - Palestinian Finance Minister Shukri Bishara gestures during a news conference in Ramallah, in the Israeli-occupied West Bank February 21, 2019. REUTERS/Mohamad Torokman

Palestinian Finance Ministry reveals budget status

By: MENA
Sun, Jun. 23, 2019
CAIRO - 23 June 2019: Palestinian Finance Minister Shoukry Bishara urged on Sunday activating a 100-million-dollar financial safety net called for by the April meeting of the Arab League council.

He warned that the Palestinian economy is in great danger given the Israeli sanctions.

Addressing an emergency meeting of the Arab finance ministers, Bishara underlined the importance of putting into effect the Arab League resolution on providing 55 million dollars to the Palestinian Authority monthly, the minimum limit that can allow the PA to meet its financial obligations.

He reviewed the strategy the PA adopted over the past six years to decrease its budget deficit, saying the PA succeeded in doubling revenues despite the 2016 tax deductions imposed by Israel.

The PA also managed to decrease the budget deficit from 13 percent in 2013 to 4.5 percent in 2018 while public debts amounted to 11 percent of the Gross Domestic Product.

He referred to the decline of donors' aid from one billion dollars in 2013 to less than 450 million dollars in 2018.

He wondered how can the Palestinians boost their national economy while they are deprived from investing in more than 64 percent of their lands.

This situation made us totally relying on revenues from taxes and customs duties which Israel should pay for Palestinians monthly in accordance with Paris protocol, he said.

But unfortunately, Israel started using this point to fully control the Palestinian economy and suppress Palestinians through announcing new cuts every now and then, he said.

The Palestinian Authority has been struggling to pay civil servants salaries since February when Israel announced it was deducting five percent of the revenues it transfers monthly to the PA from taxes collected on imports that reach the occupied West Bank and Hamas-run Gaza Strip via Israeli ports.

Israel has said the five percent it deducts from Palestinian revenues represents the amount the PA pays to families of Palestinians jailed in Israel or killed during clashes.

Bishara stressed that the Palestinians will not give up and will do their utmost to regain tax money deduced by Israel.
 
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