Gaza, ALRAY - Ministry of Economy in Gaza observed several economic regressions over the second half of 2013 as a result of tunnel closure and continued siege.
Undersecretary Hatem Owaida said that unemployment rate has risen from 31% to 39% since July 2013, whereas gross domestic product (GDP) shrank by half in 2013 with 12.2% compared to 26% in 2012, amid population growth of about 4%.
The poverty rate amounted up to 38.8%, and the extreme poverty was up to 21%, Owaida added in a press conference held Sunday at Ministry of Information in Gaza.
He stated that the government in Gaza has made instrumental efforts to relieve the living conditions, refuting World Bank and International Monetary Fund’s attribution of the slight economic relief to the Israeli occupation’s measures.
The government has accorded high priority to import substitution in 2013, improving the GDP level by 2%, the official added.
The volume of imports via the Karm Abu Salem crossing hit about 1.3 billion dollars, despite the fact the overall imports allowed into Gaza during 2013 do not meet 35-40% of the needs of the population, noting that an export of only 191 truckloads were allowed out.
Owaida called for an urgent action by the international community to lift the siege imposed on the Gaza Strip and the ban on the passage of people and goods.
The ministry is seeking to beef up cooperation between the public and private sectors to resolve the current economic crisis with allowing for much support of small enterprise and import substitution.