GAZA (Ma’an) -- The Gaza Ministry of Economy announced on Thursday that it would increase tariffs on seven types of goods imported through the Karam Abu Salem (Kerem Shalom) crossing with Israel, in an effort to support local production.
Ministry spokesman Tariq Libd told Ma’an that the Hamas-led authorities in the besieged Palestinian enclave had decided to raise the costs of these imported products in order to encourage the consumption of locally produced alternatives and lessen unemployment in the Gaza Strip.
The items include tahini, halaweh, paper tissues, and diapers.
Libd said he hoped that local production would go on to represent 40 percent of products on the market, up from 15 percent currently, and produce at least 500 jobs.
The Gaza Strip has suffered under an Israeli military blockade since 2007, when Hamas was elected to rule the territory.
Residents of Gaza suffer from high unemployment and poverty rates, as well as the consequences of three devastating wars with Israel since 2008.
In 2016, the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS) estimated that unemployment in Gaza reached 41.2 percent.
The UN warned in 2015 that the besieged Palestinian territory could become “uninhabitable” by 2020 due to the crippling situation for Gaza’s more than 1.8 million inhabitants.