Geneva, September 15 (QNA) - The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) warned that poverty deepened in the occupied Palestinian territories, with the latest data indicating that 36% of the Palestinian population lives below the poverty line.
In 2021, unemployment remained high, at 26%, in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, while in Gaza over half the workforce was unemployed, and 83% of workers received less than the minimum wage, the latest report by UNCTAD on its assistance to the Palestinian people shows.
Meanwhile, food insecurity increased from 9% to 23% in the West Bank, and from 50% to 53% in Gaza, according to the report.
The report says the ability of the Palestinian government to effectively respond to the COVID-19 shock has been constrained by systematic barriers imposed by occupation, which deprives it of the policy tools and fiscal and monetary space available to other governments.
The report highlights the role of occupation in fragmenting the Palestinian economy and depriving its producers of access to regional and global markets, essential for a small economy with weak domestic purchasing power.
By increasing transportation and production costs, occupation impairs the competitiveness of Palestinian producers and pre-empts the realization of the benefits of international trade, economies of scale and integration into regional and global value chains, the report states.
The report says the long-term drop in budget support since the global financial crisis and the deepening fiscal crisis facing the Palestinian government belie expressions of international support for a two-State solution.
According to the report, Palestinian GDP in 2021 remained 5.1% below its pre-pandemic level.
The Palestinian government is implementing far-reaching fiscal reforms, driving down the recurrent budget deficit from 23.9% of GDP in 2007 to 5.6% in 2021, and reducing the ratio of total government expenditure to GDP by more than 20 percentage points, from 50.5% in 2007 to 30.4% in 2021.
The crisis can be overcome by lifting the restrictions imposed by occupation that facilitate the leakage of Palestinian fiscal resources to the treasury of the occupying Power and shrink the tax base by stifling economic activity, the report says.
United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) was established in 1964 as a permanent intergovernmental body, and it is considered part of the United Nations Secretariat. It is specialized in trade, investment and development issues. Among it's objectives is to enhance the role of trade and investment and highlight development opportunities in developing countries and assist them in their efforts to integrate into the global economy on a just basis. (UNCTAD)
UNCTAD formulates policies related to all areas of development, including trade, aid, transport, finance and technology. (QNA)
15 September 2022
UNCTAD Warns of High Rates of Unemployment, Poverty in Occupied Palestinian Territories
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