Palestine says requests Israel to transfer fixed monthly tax revenues to support coronavirus emergency budget

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A Palestinian policeman speaks to a driver at a checkpoint at the entrance of the West Bank city of Nablus, March 23, 2020. Palestinian authorities on Sunday declared a 14-day lockdown on the West Bank as part of measures to combat the spread of coronavirus pandemic. Prime Minister Mohammed Ishtaye announced a ban on transportation and movement between the West Bank districts, urging citizens to stay at home. (Photo by Nidal Eshtayeh/Xinhua)
A Palestinian policeman speaks to a driver at a checkpoint at the entrance of the West Bank city of Nablus, March 23, 2020. Palestinian authorities on Sunday declared a 14-day lockdown on the West Bank as part of measures to combat the spread of coronavirus pandemic. Prime Minister Mohammed Ishtaye announced a ban on transportation and movement between the West Bank districts, urging citizens to stay at home. (Photo by Nidal Eshtayeh/Xinhua)

Palestine said on Sunday that it has requested Israel to transfer a fixed monthly amount of 500 million new shekels (140 million U.S. dollars) in tax revenues until September to support its emergency budget concerning the novel coronavirus pandemic.

In normal conditions, Israel collected around 140 million dollars in monthly tax revenues on behalf of the Palestinian Authority, but the figure is expected to drop by over 50 percent because of the pandemic crisis.

Palestinian Minister of Finance Shoukry Bishara warned that the pandemic crisis is affecting all economic sectors of the already weak Palestinian economy.

“We believe that the decline in consumption, investments, incoming financial transfers, the paralysis of the tourism sector and the slowdown in trade will, all together, lead to a nearly 20 percent drop in Gross Domestic Product,” Bishara told reporters at a video press conference held via the internet.

He noted an expected sharp drop in the cash flow from local taxes and tariffs by 60 percent to 70 percent in addition to the drop in tax revenues collected by Israel.

In March, Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammed Ishtaye declared that his government will start implementing an austere emergency budget in the light of shrinking revenues amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The budget will focus on minimizing expenditure including cutting public servants’ salaries and limiting the government’s debt, according to Bishara.

It is worth noting that Israel has been withholding parts of the tax money for several months, which has reached around 280 million dollars. Enditem

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