Thursday, November 02, 2006

Gaza: the most secure place on the planet

I've mentioned before that the PA has a higher ratio of security personnel to the general population than anywhere else. My last count had 90,000 "policemen" plus 3000 from Hamas being added.

Well, the IMF just released a report on how badly the PA mismanages its money, and the results are hardly surprising:
About 80 percent of the US$500 million (€394 million) in income in the past six months was spent on the ever-expanding government payroll and on fuel imports, leaving little for other budget items, such as welfare payments, the report said.

The report said the number of civil servants grew by 5,400 this year, to more than 142,000 in mid-June. Most of the hiring took place in the security services, and some 20,000 new recruits are currently being trained and could be added to the payroll in the future, the report said.

It now costs about US$100 million (€79 million) a month to cover salaries for government workers, compared to about US$80 million (€63 million) a month on mid-2005. The increase is also due to a generous across-the-board pay increase in late 2005.

"The government wage bill had already become unaffordable at the end of 2005," the report said. "Underlying the current fiscal difficulties is an increasingly unsustainable fiscal situation."

Hleileh warned that the current system of payments is setting back years of financial reform, carried out by former Finance Minister Salam Fayyad, who had set up a single Treasury account to clean up rampant mismanagement and corruption.

So if this is true, that means that there are now about 96,000 "security personnel" and they are planning to add another 20,000.

The grand total will then be 116,000 security people to protect 3.5 million people, or one policeman for every 30 PalArabs.

I am just completely mystified how in such a secure place, things like a soccer riot or the destruction of a radio station could possibly take place (just to take two examples - from yesterday.)