Parties participating in a meeting held by the Civil Society Team for public budget transparency (CSTPBT) with representatives of the Ministry of Social Development, have emphasized the need to increase the Social Developments budget shortly before adopting sectoral budgets, in addition to implementing the austerity and rationalization plan without violating the right of poor and marginalized groups, and to intensify work within the development programs through increasing budget allocated for these programs.
This meeting discusses the priorities of expenditure in the Ministry of Social Development within the budget plan for 2018, in the hight of current governmental procedures and rumors about the future directions to decrease the budget of the Ministry of Social Development which – if indeed – will effect the aid programs supporting families in need.
Dr. Ahmad Abu Hmeed, representative of the Ministry of Social Development, reviewed the Ministry programs in regards to their goals, and trageted groups. Whereas the representatives of these programs have presented the most important challenges faced in implementing these programs. The most prominent is the lack of financial resources, and budget allocated by the Ministry of Finance to the Ministry of Social Development, moreover, the problem of decreasing the inconsiderable budget for aid programs concerning poor families in particular, which led to a decrease in the number of families benefitied, and in need for aid, noting that the the percentage of families in need exceeds the percentage of beneficiaies of the program, which necessitates a budget increase for this program leading to a percentage increase of the beneficiary families.
A discussion took place between the representatives of the development programs, enconomic empowerment and cash transfer programs, on which they emphasized the need to maintain balance between all programs, which means that the decrease of beneficiary families must be accompanied by economic development and empowement programs. On the other hand, Hama Zeidan, representative of the Civil Society Team (CST) , reviewed the importance of the teams position towards decreasing the budget for the Ministry of Social Development, clarifying that this decrease contradicts with the national agenda policy 2017-2022, which includes national policies for poverty reduction, social protection for the poor and marginalized groups, and empowering women, emphasizing that the recommendations of the team affirm that the austerity and rationalization plan does not violate the poor in the Palestinian society.
It is to be noted that the CST has been working with the Ministry of Development, Education and Health, since 2010 in order to enhance public budget transparency, and to give decision priorities, in addition to its work as a watchdog over budget management and the public money, moreover, the CST team includes a specialized group of civil society institutions in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.