Abbas approves new budget

RAMALLAH (Ma’an) — President Mahmoud Abbas on Saturday signed off on the budget for 2013 that was approved by Salam Fayyad’s cabinet on Thursday, a legal adviser said.

Hassan al-Ouri said the president accepted the budget which was submitted by the cabinet as per a constitutional requirement that it be signed before the end of the month.

Al-Ouri added that the president will take into consideration feedback from members of the Palestinian Legislative Council and amend the budget accordingly if necessary.

On Thursday, the cabinet headed by Fayyad approved a draft law by resolution.

Overall expenditures in the draft law are $3.8 billion, including $350 million for development financing in addition to transfers and operations, which also include wages at $1.88 billion and social service expenditures, including the direct social assistance at $110 million, a government statement said.

The cabinet added that it expected to increase development financing to expedite projects in population centers affected by Israel’s wall and settlements.

“This is in line with the main guiding principle of the budget this year and an extension of the policy in previous years, which is confronting the occupation and its colonization enterprise by supporting the citizens’ ability to remain steadfast in their homeland,” a cabinet statement explained.

The government expects to collect $2.5 billion through taxes and tolls, including clearance. Another $1.4 billion is expected to arrive through international assistance.

Efforts to increase the tax base and fight tax evasion will make up for expected revenues that were not available a year before, according to the cabinet.

“It is important to highlight that the above-mentioned budget details are in line with the government fiscal policy, which aims to increase self-capabilities, hence decreasing dependence on outside assistance and the need for it, which in turn consolidates the national capability to protect our sovereign decision-making in the face of all forms of political pressure,” the statement concluded.

In 2011 and 2012 US officials cut off funding at times to punish the Palestinians for seeking membership in the United Nations and agreeing in principle to reconcile with Hamas.

(Source / 30.03.2013)

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