Ma'an News Agency
January 19, 2012 - 1:00am

BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad on Wednesday called for a national debate on the financial situation facing the West Bank-based government.

"We want to help everyone. We do not want theories, we want practical solutions, our people need social and economic security and we are working hard to get rid of the occupation and everyone should help us to obtain our goal," Fayyad told Ma'an TV.

Fayyad stressed that the financial polices adopted by the Palestinian Authority were based on a "pragmatic approach" to meeting the needs of the people while balancing existing economic policies with new ones.

The Ramallah-based prime minister announced several austerity measures last week in order to make up for the PA budget deficit.

New income tax measures were introduced to ease the shortfall, which raised the personal tax rate to a minimum of 5 percent, and maximum of 30 percent.

More entities will be subject to taxation, and tax rates on land and property trading will also be raised, Fayyad said last week.

The government is also studying spending cuts for the 2012 budget, which are to be approved by March and are planned to total $3.5 billion.

Fayyad said the economic crisis was serious and the PA must reduce reliance on external financial support.

He also stressed that he would not run in presidential elections.

"I'm focused on completing my responsibilities," he said.

"What concerns me is the Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital."


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