The Minister of National Economy in Gaza's Hamas-led government, Dr Alaa Al-Rafati, has revealed that the economic cost of the destruction of the tunnels between the beleaguered territory and Egypt has reached $460 million. The Egyptian authorities, he said, have completely destroyed 250 tunnels, which represents 80 to 90 per cent of the total.
Speaking at a session organised by the Palestinian Institute for Communication and Development in Gaza City, Dr Al-Rafati added that the financial crisis that the government is facing existed prior to the coup in Egypt. "The budget for 2013 is $800 million, 40 per cent of which is collected from local revenues," he pointed out.
The salaries of government employees is set at around $25 million a month, he said. The rest of the budget is split between capital and development costs. "These require foreign aid and grants," the minister insisted. The government account at the National Islamic Bank is currently overdrawn by around $12 million, he added.