Hamas Govt. Passes 2014 Budget Amid Plunging GDP
The Hamas government in Gaza passed its $784 million budget for 2014 on Tuesday, in a session that revealed dire economic straits for the terror organization's government. The budget forecasted an estimated annual deficit of $589 million for next year.
Statistics from the second half of 2013, reported at the discussion by Finance Minister Ziad Zaza, deputy to Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, show Gaza's steep decrease in GDP growth.
While GDP growth was 26% in 2011, that figure fell to 13.5% in 2012, and further plunged to 3% in the last year.
Zaza further noted that Gaza's unemployment rate rose to 30% in the last quarter of 2013, demonstrating an increase from the 27% rate through the first half of the year.
In 2014 the Hamas government's income is figured to be $195 million, as opposed to $784 million in expenses.
Those figures show further stagnation from 2013, in which income was $200 million, constituting 43% of the $469 million in governmental expenses.
Gaza's financial woes were highlighted in November after tunnels used to smuggle fuel were closed in an Egyptian siege, causing the government to close Gaza's only power plant on November 1, and consequently flooding the region in sewage.
The power station was restarted on November 15, and bailed out by the Palestinian Authority (PA), which bought fuel from Israel with funds donated by Qatar. Following the restart, the Hamas government approached Israel, asking for an increase of supplied electricity.
However, last week the plant was offline again from Tuesday through this Sunday, after Gazan terrorists fatally shot an IDF civilian worker repairing the security fence, and Israel responded by closing the Kerem Shalom crossing.
Despite the financial woes, Hamas has reportedly been gathering updated long-range missiles in preparation for war, all while declaring its intentions of genocide against Israel and the Jewish people.
Meanwhile, two weeks ago Hamas held talks with PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah movement to discuss the formation of a unity government.