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Abbas Signs-off on Fayyad Budget

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Saturday signed-off on the 2013 $3.8 billion budget submitted last week by Prime Minister Salam Fayyad. Palestinian law requires the budget be accepted before the end of this month, but revisions in the form of amendments are still possible. Fayyad had previously explained that $1.4 billion in foreign assistance is necessary in order to offset a shortfall. In addition, the PA plans to step-up its tax collections and go after tax evaders. The cabinet statement issued upon its approval of the budget declares the government’s intention of maximizing “self-capabilities, hence decreasing dependence on outside assistance and the need for it…”