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Gaza gov't to reduce salary payments for its employees

Gaza protests PA's continued salary cut [Mohammed Asad/Middle East Monitor]
Gaza protests PA's continued salary cut [Mohammed Asad/Middle East Monitor]

The Palestinian government in the besieged Gaza Strip will be reducing salary payments for its employees as a result of the financial crisis it is suffering, spokesman Salam Marouf said yesterday.

Marouf, who also serves as deputy information minister, said that the ongoing financial crisis is a direct result of subsidies placed on basic commodities, including fuel.

He highlighted that fuel had increased in price by 100 per cent but the government had taken the brunt of this increase and allowed prices to only increase by 13-14 per cent for users.

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Marouf said that the monthly deficit resulting from subsidising fuel alone is 17 million shekels (about $5 million). "This pushed the government to borrow from the local banks," he said.

"We have reached a situation where we cannot pay 60 per cent of wages," he said. "We will wait until the end of this month to decide how much we will pay."

He noted that the government implemented an austerity plan but it has not been sufficiently effective.

Gaza has been under a strict Israeli-Egyptian siege since mid-2007. Recently, Israel and Egypt started easing the movement of workers and travellers, but restrictions are still in place for goods and funds.

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