Gaza, Edward Said forum- the cultural forum of PalThink for Strategic Studies has organized a seminar to discuss the situation of the Palestinian banking system , hosting Dr. Jehad Alwazir, governor of Palestine Monetary Authority, as the main speaker. The seminar witnessed a great attendance by journalists, politicians, businessmen and academics the fact which enriched the discussion about the role of the banking system in tackling the blockade of Gaza and the Palestinian reconciliation.
Dr. Alwazir started talking about the efforts which have been exerted to improve the performance of Palestine Monetary Authority. He stated that the past efforts concentrated on crisis management rather than improvement due to the hard circumstances that blew away the Palestinian people through the division, the blockade and the war. He listed some efforts exerted during the phase of crisis management:
– providing the25 bank branches of Gaza strip with fuel within the electricity crisis.
– Applying the international standards of crisis management and providing alternative sites for the banks in case of any emergency.
– Approving communication plan among the banks to maintain sufficient liquidity.
– Liquidity rate has been increased for 1%.
– applying the policy of the geopolitical volatile reserve in February 2011.
– Specifying 15% of banks’ profit for emergencies.
Dr. Alwazir pointed out that money laundering law has been applied on the banks. Through the relationship with the Israeli central bank the spoiled currency has been replaced with new one the matter which eased the situation in Gaza banks. He asserted that there is no real shortage in the NIS currency, but the currency is accumulated in the money-changers’ hands. Palestine Monetary Authority issued an order regarding the differences in money changing that the point of difference should not exceed 100 points on the screen. He stated that “We have a strong banking system and vital capital market. We created a social security net to help credit institutions. Palestine Monetary Authority is a member in (G-20). The rate of banking facilities in comparison with deposits reached 51%. Deposit security institution is too established in 2012 in order not to be affected by any financial crisis. The risk of default in the banking system is only 2%. Palestine Monetary Authority, too, issued a circulated note regarding the standards of employment and disposition in the Palestinian banks. It has been applied on the main staffs and it will be applied on the other bodies. A corporate governance manual has been approved, too, to be applied on the banking system. He assured that there is a high liquidity in the banking system that Israel withdrew NIS 500 million from the Palestinian banks through the global financial crisis.
Concluding the seminar, Omar Shaban, head of pal think for strategic studies, outlined the needs of the Palestinians in Gaza strip:
1. The banks should be more flexible with the employees and the marginalized people.
2. To promote and increase banks’ contribution in the social responsibility.
4. Procedures and loan value in effect in the banks of West bank should be the same as in their counterparts in Gaza strip.
5. To increase bank’s branches especially in the remote areas.
6. To ensure transparency in employing fresh graduates and engage the fresh graduates in the banks’ board of directors.