Following a significant increase of prices of goods in the Gaza Strip, affecting the lives of the Gaza population, the Training and Mass Communication Unit conducted a meeting in Jabalia with the Ministry of Supplies and other officials.
Number of participants 29 Percentage of women that attended 41% (12 out of the 29).
Key Speakers: Ibrahim Shaheen, director of Public Relations department, the Ministry of Supplies.
S,oud Al Swerki, President of the Palestinian Society for the Protection of Consumer,s.
Percentage of women that spoke-up 15% Summary of issues raised by the public Prices increase rapidly while the rates of income are almost frozen.
More people fall into the circle of poverty in the Gaza Strip.
The Palestinian National Authority is responsible for monitoring prices and ensure a more stabilized relation between prices and salaries.
Participants demanded that the PNA prevents monopoly, and opens the way for competition, which has an essential role in lowering prices.
Participants expressed their deep concern about the presence of spoilt food in the Palestinian market, and the presence of the production from Israeli settlements.
They demanded that PNA fights these two phenomena.
The PNA's political agreements with Israel left the Palestinian economy vulnerable and the prices in the Palestinian territories disproportionate with income rates; which are much higher in Israel.
The PNA should plan for significant development of the national production, which will solve much of the problem in the long-run.
The Palestinian Legislative Council should issue laws ensuring protection for Palestinian customers.
This includes monitoring health standards, encouraging competition and founding a stabilized social security system linking wages with prices.
Palestinians are asked to participate in the social efforts to prompt the PNA and PLC to establish consistent solutions for these problems.
While the free-trade economy does not suit the Palestinian community, which lives under very special conditions, the PNA should find the right policies for the welfare of citizens.
Economic reform, within the Palestinian framework is essential.
Summary of answers given by the guest speakers Price rates are not proportionate with wage rates, this is a fact about the Palestinian economy.
One of the reasons is the vulnerability of the Palestinian economy which follows the free market system.
Because there is almost no strategic food reserve, the market is very dependent on the changing international market.
There is a need for legislative monitoring over Palestinian economic activity and prices.
A national policy that includes a package of laws and executive procedures is necessary.
A Palestinian Council on the Prices and Tariff Policy should be established to follow up and establish for the relevant policies.
A correlation between prices and wages should be established to protect families from poverty.
The Ministry of Supplies monitors some prices, especially bread and wheat, and closely checks imports.
The Palestinian Society for Consumer Protection has issued several press releases and met with law makers demanding new legislations to protect the customers.
Popular participation is much needed in these efforts.
Planned and undertaken follow-up of issues raised The Center contacted the Palestinian Legislative Council and passed on the recommendations to issue new legislations.
The Center drafted and circulated a special article, which was published in the local newspapers and TV, on the problem.
Summary of evaluation forms of participants and speakers Participants considered the issue was important to raise.
They were satisfied by the organization and the choice of speakers.
They however did not consider the timing of the discussion appropriate A surprisingly low number of participants attended this meeting.