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Source: Palestinian Authority
26 August 2010





Press Release - European Union and Ministry of Social Affairs - Palestinian Authority
Jerusalem/Ramallah
PR/22/2010
Thursday 26 August 2010
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

EU contributes €10 million to early payment of social
allowances to Palestinian families in need

On Saturday 28 August, the Palestinian Authority and the European Union will launch this year's third quarterly payment of social allowances to over 49,700 vulnerable Palestinian households, across the West Bank and Gaza. At the request of the Palestinian Authority, this contribution is made four weeks earlier, to allow beneficiaries to retrieve their allowances ahead of the feast of Eid Al-Fitr marking the end of Ramadan. The funds for the payment provided by the European Union reach the exact amount of €9.7 million.

Beneficiaries of the programme are identified in cooperation with the Ministries of Finance and Social Affairs, through the "Palestinian National Programme for Social Protection - Cash Transfer Programme" (PNPSP-CTP) in the West Bank, and the "Social Hardship Cases" (SHC) programme in Gaza – designed to provide basic safety net to the most vulnerable Palestinian citizens.

The assistance, which takes the form of cash allowance, will reach 49,754 families in need – out of which more than 50% live in Gaza. Following the launch of the PNPSP-CTP in June, the level of benefits paid to eligible beneficiary families in the West Bank is calculated on the basis of household size and welfare status. The 26,879 beneficiary families in Gaza, continue to receive an allowance of NIS 1,000 (around €200) per household.

The Palestinian Minister for Social Affairs, H.E. Ms Majeda Al Masri, said: "This is the second payment under the unified Cash Transfer Programme of the Ministry of Social Affairs – which plays a central part in the Ministry's objective to alleviate poverty and provide Palestinian families living in extreme poverty with quality services to enhance their well-being. This payment holds an particular human and social dimension, as it is made available weeks ahead of the festivities marking the end of Holy month of Ramadan, in order to allow families in need to fulfil their basic needs and uphold their dignity during this period. I seize this occasion to wish, beforehand, happy celebrations to all Palestinians, and would like to thank the European Union – the largest contributor to the Ministry's Cash Transfer Programme - for is continuous support."

The European Union Representative, Mr Christian Berger said: "We commend and fully support the constant and determined efforts of the Palestinian Authority, and in particular the Ministry of Social Affairs, to fulfil its responsibilities to Palestinians facing growing economic hardships. This early payment bears a special social significance as it is made available during the holy month of Ramadan, permitting those in need to provide for their families."

Payments are made over-the-counter at 47 branches of Bank of Palestine and Cairo Amman Bank. Beneficiaries may collect their allowances from 28 August to 23 September 2010, at the bank branch indicated by their social worker.

Background:
PEGASE channels EU assistance to help build a Palestinian State, in accordance with the priorities and needs identified by the Palestinian Authority in its three year reform and development programme (PRDP). Launched by the European Commission on 1 February 2008, it is the main financing mechanism of the European Union. As well as helping the PA to meet a substantial proportion of its running costs, European funds support major reform and development programmes in key ministries, to help prepare the Palestinian Authority for statehood in line with the plan proposed in August 2009 by Prime Minister Salam Fayyad.

Since 2007 the EU has provided total assistance to the Palestinian people, including civil society organizations and refugees, averaging more than €500 million annually.

For further information in Arabic and English on the EU's assistance to the occupied Palestinian territory and the PEGASE mechanism, please visit: www.delwbg.ec.europa.eu

Contact:
The Office of the European Union Representative
West Bank and Gaza Strip, UNRWA
Antonia Zafeiri, Communication and Information Manager,
Tel: +972 (0) 2 5415 859, Mobile +972 (0) 548 024 915
Shadi Othman, Communication and Information Officer,
Tel: +972 (0) 2 541 5888 ext 867, Mobile: +972 (0) 599 673 958

Ministry of Social Affairs
Khaled Al Barghouti,
Deputy General Director to Combat Poverty,
Mob: 059-932-8586




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