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PA official warns of worsening financial crisis

June 11, 2013 1:22 P.M. (Updated: June 17, 2013 5:22 P.M.)
RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- The Palestinian Authority deputy prime minister for economic affairs said Tuesday that the financial crisis is getting worse, as the new PA cabinet met for the first time.

"There is a major financial crisis and the PA is $4.2 billion in internal and external debt," Muhammad Mustafa said during a news conference following the cabinet meeting.

"We will start looking for sources of financial funds and will examine spending and collect taxes to pay our debts on time."

The PA official also warned of a growing job crisis, with over 250,000 Palestinians currently unemployed, young people particularly affected.

"The government will work hard to create jobs, especially for the youth sector through the launching of new projects," he said.

The PA owes $600 million to banks and $1 billion to international financial institutions, Mustafa said, adding that the new cabinet is working on a three year plan, starting with a 100-day short-term strategy.

The 15th Palestinian government headed by Rami Hamdallah was sworn in before President Mahmoud Abbas last Thursday.

In March, the International Monetary Fund warned that the PA's fiscal situation was "increasingly precarious," calling for urgent action to help close a gaping budget deficit and to stabilize the economy.

The IMF said Israeli restrictions on movement and access were virtually unchanged and continued to hamper growth.
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