Gaza: Hamas to start paying late public sector salaries following delay, ministry says

Gaza: Hamas to start paying late public sector salaries following delay, ministry says
Hamas has been unable to pay its public sector workers for a number of reasons, such as a drop in tax revenue, a intensified financial crisis and a delay from the monthly Qatar-funded grant.
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Gazan public sector employees will now be paid following a three-week delay [Getty]

Hamas authorities in the besieged Gaza Strip have begun distributing June salaries to around 50,000 public sector workers who had not been paid for almost three weeks, the local finance ministry said on Wednesday.

A delay in a monthly payroll grant from Qatar, a crucial aid donor to the impoverished Gaza enclave, a drop in tax revenue, and a jump in spending were to blame for the crisis, according to the Hamas-run Ministry of Finance.

Salama Marouf, chairman of the Hamas government media office, said the reception of nearly half of the Qatari $5-million monthly payroll grant and a loan from a Gaza local bank facilitated the payment of wages on Wednesday, adding that the financial crisis persisted.

Public sector employees have not received full salaries since 2013.

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Most of Gaza's 2.3 million residents live in poverty, and the economy is dependent on foreign aid.

Qatar has paid hundreds of millions of dollars since 2014 for construction projects. It currently pays $30 million per month in stipends for families, fuel for electricity, and to help pay public sector wages.

The payroll costs Hamas 125 million shekels ($34.5 million) per month.

Gaza has been under an illegal Israeli blockade since 2007, which has been condemned by rights groups.

The siege has severely impacted the quality of life in the besieged strip, restricting access to health care and other necessities, and travel overseas and to other Palestinian territories.