The Palestinian Council of Ministers held an emergency session in Ramallah yesterday for a second reading of the public budget of the fiscal year 2020, in light of the current crisis ignited by the outbreak of novel coronavirus.
The government discussed the ongoing global economic recession created by the outbreak of the virus, and the resulting serious challenges facing the Palestinian public budget in its ability to achieve the local revenue assumptions through customs and tax duties.
The council also discussed all possible scenarios to deal with the impact of the global crisis in a manner that keeps the national economy as healthy as possible.
At the commencement of the session, Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh stressed the need for a review of the government expenditure and rationalization of spending to cope up with the costs that may be incurred by the government in its precautions against the spread of the virus. He said the government was working to cordon off the geographical region where the virus has spread so far.
Minister of Finance, Shukri Bishara, presented a comprehensive outlook of the public budget and reviewed the multiple scenarios to deal with potential implications on the national economy.
Amid expectations of declining revenues and growing unemployment rates, driven by the financial and economic implications of the virus, Bishara underscored the importance of reinforcing development and investment plans as a way of preserving the share of the poor in the Palestinian public budget.
He also presented a plan to deal with the expected scenarios of the global pandemic and the financial costs associated with such confrontation.