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World Bank approves $40 million grant to Palestinian Authority

Feb. 12, 2016 10:47 P.M. (Updated: Feb. 12, 2016 10:47 P.M.)
RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- The World Bank approved on Thursday a $40 million grant to the Palestinian Authority, the international organization said in a statement.

The Development Policy Grant, the seventh installment of a $280 million grant, will go towards “strengthening public finances and improving the business environment by facilitating land registration,” the statement read.

“The grant will help ease some of the Palestinian Authority’s fiscal stress, continue to advance the reform agenda, and bring some hope amid growing pessimism amongst Palestinians, including the business community,” Steen Lau Steen Lau Jorgensen, World Bank Country Director for West Bank and Gaza, was quoted as saying.

The statement noted that the PA’s revenues increased by nine percent in 2015, but that its fiscal situation remained “precarious” due to political tensions and the drastic decline in donor aid in the occupied Palestinian territories.

The World Bank highlighted the “extremely difficult” situation in the Gaza Strip, which it said has only received six percent of the funding it needs to recover from the devastating Israeli offensive on the besieged strip in 2014.

The World Bank hailed the Palestinian Authority’s “steady progress” in reducing energy subsidies, and controlling the wage bill, as well as implementing health reforms.

It nevertheless called on the PA to further reform its public pension system and tax policy.
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