The deficit in the Palestinian Authority’s 2012 budget has reached more than $1
billion, Finance Minister Nabil Qassis revealed Wednesday.
He said that a
decrease in foreign aid and failure of donor countries to fulfill their
financial pledges to the PA were behind the severe crisis hitting the
Qassis told Palestinian legislators in Ramallah that the PA
has reached understandings with Israel on ways of combating tax
He was referring to an agreement that was signed Tuesday between
Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz and PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad about
broadening economic cooperation and improving tax collection on goods which the
PA imports through Israel.
The agreement also calls for setting up a
pipeline to transport fuel directly from Israeli ports to the PA. Until now,
fuel had been transferred to the PA territories by trucks.
that tax collection in the PA territories has been below expectations. He said
that the main reason for the financial crisis was the state of uncertainty
regarding foreign aid to the PA.
“Without foreign aid, the Palestinian
Authority can’t cover its expenses,” he added.
Referring to last week’s
report by the World Bank, which said that the Palestinian economy was still
unsustainable, Qassis blamed Israel, saying: “If anyone thinks that our economy
would be able to sustain itself under occupation, they are deluding themselves.
We don’t even control our national resources.”
He said that a recent $100
million grant from Saudi Arabia has been used to pay the salaries of the public