Hamas has been unable to pay the salaries of 50,000 public sector workers, due in part to a delay in Qatari financial assistance, Reuters reported on Sunday.
According to Hamas officials, Doha sent just over half of a $5 million grant for the May payroll, and has since sent no funds. The monthly payroll grant from the wealthy Gulf state helps prop up the Muslim Brotherhood affiliate, which is sworn to Israel’s destruction.
Qatar sends $30 million per month to the Gaza Strip, a sum which includes public sector wages, stipends for families and fuel for electricity.
“The government is going through a stifling and escalating financial crisis, with a continuous increase in the deficit month after month, which led to the delay of salaries this month,” Awni al-Basha, the Hamas-appointed deputy minister, told Hamas Aqsa radio.
“We are making significant efforts to pay the salaries, and we hope to do so at the end of this week,” he said.
Basha said that the monthly payroll costs for Hamas is $34.5 million.
A decline in tax revenue and increase in spending has exacerbated the situation, according to Reuters.
Salama Marouf, chairman of the Hamas government media office, on Sunday called on the Qatari government to raise the salary grant to $7 million.