Al Marsad: The Public Budget of 2019 will reflect the directions of Shtayyeh’s government

The optimistic statements of the appointed Prime Minister Dr. Mohammad Shtayyeh, and different organizations and political parties on the new government and their capability to control internal affairs will be attested through the public budget law for 2019

The public budget law for the year 2019 will reflect appointed government’s priorities and interventions for a whole year. Speculations arise; will the government prioritize important sectors, such as education, health, agriculture, and social protection programs, or will we recognize continuation the patterns and structural problems of the prior 17 governments

The Social and Economic Policies Monitor (Al Marsad) stated that the new government must work towards supporting the education system and increase the size and share of spending on the education sector.

Also, Al Marsad emphasized the importance of working towards diminishing gaps arising between different education systems that deepen disparities; diminish number equal employment opportunities and even quality and quantity of future specializations

It is unacceptable that after 25 years of the PNA’s establishment that more than 45% of Palestinian schools are inadequate and inaccessible for people with disabilities, and this negligence kept more than 30% of children with disabilities left behind and not enrolled in any education system. While enrolled students with disabilities – whom only amounted to 2,500 students – face challenges due to lack of harmonization of curricula and adequate educational tools, and the incompetent human resources.  Not to mention that most schools are not furnished with laboratories, libraries, and central heating.  Adding to that, the occupation’s practices continue to demolish schools in area C, while the Palestinian government isn’t capable of providing adequate alternatives to minimize dropout of the education system

On the other hand, unemployment within graduates is drastically high; only 8,000 out of 40,000 graduates get employed in the Palestinian labour market. This is due to incompatibility between the education programs and labour market needs

And instead of striving for new water resources, the previous governments have transformed the right to water to prepaid services under the motto promoting citizens steadfastness

Al Marsad also stated that the absence of effective planning has limited public expenditure on health and retained it revolved around salaries and wages and medical referrals, not to mention that the Palestinian citizen confidence in the health system is deteriorating

The consecutive governments didn’t allocate any developmental budgets to alleviate the health sector, nationalize medical services, build the capacities of the medical cadre, and include new specialties, or developing a just and universal health coverage. Instead, we find the government supporting, promoting, and paving the road for private investors to accumulate profits from the medical referral system while avoiding the ample conflict of interests

A people-centric government means that a government needs to reconsider a different social protection scheme, and assure providing provisions that guarantee a decent life for the family beneficiaries. It is absurd that poor families are only receiving 250 shekels a month, which doesn’t the minimum household needs

A government that isn’t favoring the rich and corporates; entails a government that allocates budgets that promote social justice and inclusion, contests tax evasion and avoidance, stimulates just distribution of tax burden within Palestinian districts, imposes progressivity of tax brackets, and eliminates taxation privileges for monopolists and stops misusing public money and retrieves stolen public money. This also includes re-visiting the public expenditure on security that consumes 35% of the public budget

The general budget of the Palestinian government will indeed reflect the seriousness of creating change and impact, or carry on with the bureaucratic system that has been built over the past years and only serves limited groups and will continue to leave the poor and the marginalized behind. This budget will indeed reflect the priorities and promises made during different meetings and interviews, and whether these are embellished statements or there is more to that; a serious shift in the development discourse and walking away from discourses that have already proved failure and promoted de-development within the Palestinian context

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