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Palestinian Finance Minister Says All Funding Options Exhausted

Palestinian Finance Minister Says All Funding Options Exhausted

Thursday, 23 September, 2021 - 09:00
Palestinians in Gaza receive UN financial aid last week (AFP)

Palestinian Finance Minister Shukri Bishara said during his meeting with donors and foreign representatives that the government has exhausted all available financing options.

He added that borrowing from banks is no longer an option due to technical and realistic reasons.

Bishara warned that the Palestinian Authority’s financial situation is likely to further deteriorate during the coming period unless Israel releases the withheld Palestinian tax funds.

The minister stressed the need to reform the financial relationship with the Israeli side, adding that the withheld clearing funds, “have become a tool for the continuation of the occupation.”

He urged the international community to make all necessary diplomatic efforts to urge the Israeli side to respond to the PA’s demands and called for the return of foreign support to what it was before 2018.

The minister urged the donor countries to restore their aid to the Palestinian treasury as it was in 2018, explaining that this aid has decreased by 90 percent this year compared to 2020.

Bishara commended the reforms made by the Ministry of Finance, which led to a growth of 9 percent in revenues in the 2021 budget.

The meeting was attended by representatives from the EU, Norway, Sweden, UK, World Bank, IMF, the US, Germany, Italy, Japan, France, Denmark, and the UN.

Palestine is suffering from challenging financial conditions after the Arab and American aid stopped and the aid from European states dropped.

This increased the losses incurred by the Palestinian economy due to the coronavirus pandemic. The budget deficit is projected at 1.2 billion.

The government estimated the economic losses at more than 3.8 billion since the beginning of the pandemic.

Earlier, the World Bank warned that poverty could double in the occupied West Bank as a result of the current economic consequences.

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