The new Palestinian government inherited a debt of more than 4 billion US dollars, it said Tuesday as it held its first meeting, dpa reported.
Finance Minister Shukri Bishara told the cabinet that the government's debt totalled 4.2 billion dollars and more than a quarter of it was owed to Palestinian banks, another quarter to foreign organizations, a quarter to the retirement fund and the rest to Palestinian businesses, Deputy Prime Minister for Economic Affairs Muhammad Mustafa said.
Without international aid and the taxes Israel collects on behalf of the Palestinian Authority, which together make up 70 per cent of total revenues, it would be difficult to pay salaries and other expenses, Mustafa said.
"We need quick financial aid," he said. "We need to cut down on expenditures, and we need to improve tax collection."
Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah's 24-member cabinet was sworn in Thursday after the resignation of premier Salam Fayyad in April.