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PA to pay partial salaries on Sunday
Published Thursday 17/01/2013 (updated) 19/01/2013 17:20
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Palestinians wait in a line to buy cooking gas from a station in the Gaza
Strip Jan. 14, 2013. (Reuters/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa)
NABLUS (Ma'an) -- The Palestinian Authority will pay public sector workers partial December salaries on Sunday, the finance minister said Thursday.

Nabil Qassis said in a statement that government employees would receive half their December wages, with a minimum of 1,500 shekels ($402) and capped at 4,000 shekels ($1073).

Full salaries for public sector workers have not been paid in almost three months and government initiatives to increase revenue by collecting years worth of electricity and water bills from the public have been hampered by street protests.

The PA has been hard-pressed to pay more than $300 million in monthly expenditures since Israel announced it would confiscate $100 million dollars it collects in customs taxes on their behalf each month.

Qassis said Wednesday that Saudi Arabia had pledged $100 million to the PA and that salaries would be paid as soon as the funds were received.

President Mahmoud Abbas has struggled to convince Arab countries to deliver a $100 million monthly "safety net" they promised when he secured de facto UN recognition of a Palestinian state in November, prompting Israeli sanctions.

Abbas thanked Saudi Arabia, a longtime benefactor to his government, for the funds.

"The state's budget is facing a large deficit as a result of the docking of Palestinian money by the Israeli government as a punitive step after the UN recognition of Palestine as an observer state," Abbas said in a statement.

The Saudi aid will make little progress toward lowering the government's debt of more than $1.3 billion to Palestinian banks and hundred of millions of dollars in unpaid contracts to the private sector.

Amid a downturn in its construction and manufacturing sectors and with its economic prospects hamstrung by Israeli restrictions, the West Bank government has been deeply dependent on foreign aid to pay its bills.

A high of $1.8 billion in foreign aid in 2008 plunged to $600 million last year, with Gulf countries scaling back their giving because of increased domestic spending over two years of Arab political uprisings and the global financial downturn.

An earlier $100 million gift from Saudi Arabia last July and donations from Iraq, Algeria and other Arab countries provided much of the Palestinians' foreign aid in 2012.

On Wednesday, the European Union announced some $133 million in annual assistance to the Palestinians and UN aid agencies servicing Palestinian refugees, in line with previous years.

The United States continues to withhold $200 million dollars in budgetary assistance, around half the aid it delivered to the PA in 2012, amid Congressional objections to their bid for statehood.

Reuters contributed to this report.
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1 ) Starving Pal / Ramallah
17/01/2013 14:37
Govt. will pay half. Bank will keep that against the loan.How do we eat Sir,

2 ) Tibi / Tubas
17/01/2013 15:16
1- The money comes from the EU, for distribution by the PA, and
2- The EU gave them enough to pay full, NOT partial, salaries !!

3 ) Mel / USA
17/01/2013 16:01
"PARTIAL"(my emphasis)??Why not ALL? It's IMPOSSIBLE to trust in the intentions of Peninsular-petro-sheiks-in-palaces,or any US corporate-elitists,while they continue this aquiescence to Israeli radical Zionism(Nazism)&racial,bigotted collective punishment/attrition of Palestinian people just because they are not NOT Jewish!WHY did we fight AGAINST fascism&Nazism,if we're sponsoring it post-WW2 in brutal Zionist-Israel which treats Palestinian humans as"untermenschen"?ENDTHEOCCUPATION!

4 ) southparkbear / usa
17/01/2013 16:32
there's a good pimp for you

5 ) Money / Currency
17/01/2013 19:57
Tibi #2 - you forgot that that Abbas & Sons need to stash some money ( about half) from every transfer somewhere in Swiss banks for rainy day.
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