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Palestinian PM: We Need $137 million to Face Coronavirus

Palestinian PM: We Need $137 million to Face Coronavirus

Friday, 10 April, 2020 - 06:15
Palestinian workers make protective face masks to be exported and sold in the local market [Mahmud Hams/AFP]
Ramallah - Kifah Zaboun

Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh said Thursday that his government needs $137 million to confront the COVID-19 pandemic, including the provision of medicines and equipment and other assistance to the healthcare sector.


During a video-conference meeting with the ambassadors, consuls and representatives of various countries to Palestine, the PM said that the total value of economic losses as a result of coronavirus are estimated at $3.8 billion in all Palestinian sectors.


"Government's estimates of the total losses in the Palestinian economy amount to $3.8 billion, and various sectors will be affected," he said, adding that the exact total of losses will be audited by a joint committee between the government and the World Bank.


Shtayyeh also briefed the consuls and ambassadors on the emergency budget plan approved by President Mahmoud Abbas, aimed at keeping public spending at a bare minimum while maintaining assistance for needy families, supporting the healthcare sector, paying government employees' salaries and meeting the security needs.


He said the budget deficit is expected to increase to $1.4 billion due to the decline in government revenues by more than 50%.


The Prime Minister called on donors to support the Palestinian response plan to confront the coronavirus pandemic, and work to reallocate development and development funds to support the public budget and cover urgent health needs in Palestine.


Last month, the Palestinian Monetary Authority has released the results of its Business Cycle Index (PMABCI) for March 2020, which revealed a notable decline in the overall index at -16.5 points, compared to -9.8 in the previous month, and around 2.9 points in the corresponding month of 2019.


To face the current crisis, the Palestinian government received not more than $15 million, including a $5.8 million from the World Bank to fight the coronavirus outbreak.


“Such numbers are shy,” economic expert Mohamad Khabisah told Asharq Al-Awsat.


“The government needs at least $120 million every month to bridge the gap between revenues and expenditures.”


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