Palestinian public debt decreased by only 1.71 per cent in spite of a government pledge to tackle it, data published by Coalition for Accountability and Integrity – AMAN on Wednesday revealed.
The details came to light during the bi-annual conference to discuss the Palestinian Authority budget for 2016, held by AMAN in Ramallah
The meeting aims to shed light on the government’s spending during the first half of the year as well as address the austerity measures made by the government.
Head of AMAN’s Board of Directors, Abdel Qader Husseini, stressed that this conference is to examine what has been achieved by the Palestinian government in the areas of rationalisation and austerity.
He called on the Ministry of Finance to involve civil society and the media in matters regarding the management of public funds and to take into account all the observations made during this conference.
Husseini expressed his hope that the budget would be dealt with seriously and responsibly in order for accurate and timely information to be provided in Arabic, not English, which is the case for the 2016 budget.
The Council of Ministers in Ramallah agreed in principle on the budget during its meeting earlier this month, which amounted to $4.25 billion, including $3.9 billion dollars for on-going expenses, and $350 million for development.
A report released during the conference concluded that the Ministry of Finance did not comply with the legal deadlines for the preparation and approval of the draft budget law for the current year. It also revealed that the citizen’s budget was issued in June and in English only.
The report also revealed that the total security expenses during the last year reached $1.078 billion out of the total spending of $3.860 billion.
More than 60,000 people work for the PA’s security agencies in the Palestinian territories. They work in the police, security forces, general intelligence, military intelligence, national security forces and presidential security.
The PA employs some 160,000 people, 72,000 in the West Bank and 78,000 in Gaza.