Palestinian Prime Minister, Salam Fayyad, has stated that the Palestinian National Authority is waiting on the receipt of external money transfers in order to pay its public sector employees for August. In a recent interview with Palestine Radio, the Prime Minister admitted that currently he could not specify when the salaries would be paid.
He went on to add that the Occupation and the division among Palestinians have negatively impacted on the PA’s ability to deal with the needs and economic crises caused mainly by the global rise in the prices of key imported goods. He clarified that following events of 2005, revenues from the Gaza Strip entering the PA Treasury had declined from 28% to 4% and asserted that the PA spends 48% of the general budget on the Gaza Strip.
The Prime Minister called for the rebuilding of the Palestinian political system on a democratic basis so that critical decisions can be made toward solving the economic and political crises. He added that the PA is awaiting approval of a request for $200 million in aid from the US Congress.
Fayyad noted that the government bore half the recent increase in fuel prices, and that any further increases would lead to a reduction of revenues. This would further restrict the ability of the Authority to keep up its other commitments like salaries and allocations to the private sector.
He called on importers and the private sector to reduce their margin of profit in these especially difficult economic circumstances, so as to make things easier for citizens. He revealed that the PA is in extensive talks about the creation of new job opportunities for Palestinian youth in other Arab countries such as Libya and the Gulf.
He also declared that he would not evade his responsibilities regarding this economic crisis, and that he was prepared to resign if this was a popular demand and a solution to the difficulties that require an economic policy and not a change of person. Fayyad condemned the latest Israeli escalation against the Gaza Strip which resulted in the deaths of six Palestinians and the injury of many others. He called on international civil society to act immediately to stop this escalation and renewed his call to end the internal division which only benefits Israel.