Palestinian PM: ”Treasury is empty”
The new Hamas-led Palestinian cabinet was holding its first regular meeting on Wednesday. During this meeting, Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh told said that the Palestinian Authority's treasury was empty.
"The Ministry of Finance has inherited an entirely empty treasury in addition to the debts of the ministry and the government in general," Haniyeh said. According to the AP, he said the government would do all it can to pay salaries to the Authority's 140,000 employees despite a cash deficit caused in large part by cuts in tax revenues transferred by Israel since Hamas won elections in January.
Speaking from Gaza by video-link with ministers in the West Bank city of Ramallah because of Israeli travel restrictions on senior Hamas officials, Haniyeh stated government employees might get their salaries before ministers in the cabinet.
It should be noted that the PA employees' March wages were supposed to be paid earlier this week.
The deputy Palestinian premier, Nasser Eddin Shaer, said earlier Wednesday that new government had prepared an emergency plan for its first three months of rule, and would discuss it at Wednesday's cabinet meeting.