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Hamas employees' wages late due to cash crisis

Aug. 7, 2011 5:19 P.M. (Updated: Aug. 10, 2011 1:28 P.M.)
Correction appended

GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Civil servants in Gaza will not receive their July salaries until the end of August due to government cash shortages, Hamas finance ministry official Ismail Mahfouz said Sunday.

Speaking at the Gaza government's information office, Mahfouz said that while some of the government's income came from internal revenue, a large part of the budget was received from external sources.

He said there was a deficit in support from abroad, and that Hamas officials were trying to secure more finance from outside the Gaza Strip.

The Gaza government pays salaries to around 40,000 employees, Mahfouz said.

Meanwhile, the Hamas government had several other financial concerns, such as the electricity crisis, he said, adding that the government had paid 32 million shekels ($8.95 million) to Gaza's electricity company to avoid national power cuts.

Civil servants in the West Bank threatened to strike over the late payment of their July wages.

The Palestinian Authority agreed to pay wages on August 2, but the West Bank government said it had been forced to direct money away from other ministries in order to meet its payroll.

The PA says it is facing a cash crisis because donor countries, particularly Arab governments, have failed to deliver pledged aid.

(This version CORRECTS that 32 million shekels was paid to Gaza's electricity company.)
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