Jerusalem (Mar. 12)
The astonishing fact that the Palestine Government is self-sustaining is brought out in a report issued by the office of the Chief Secretary of the Palestine Government. For the fiscal year 1921-22, the revenue was 1,997,000 pounds and the expenditure 1,881,000 pounds. During the year 1922-23, the revenue fell, showing a deficit of 73,000 pounds. It was, therefore, necessary to enforce the most rigid economies; and the revenue for 1923-24 is estimated at 1,780,000 pounds, with an expenditure of equal amount so that the year may and without a deficit.
The financial difficulties of the Government are due in a measure to the increase in the growth of tobacco in Palestine and the consequent decrease in the amount imported, the immediate effect being a great loss of revenue to the Government. In the long run, however, the development of tobacco cultivation which will assist the agriculturists will add to the wealth of the country. Other reasons for the decline in revenue are the withdrawal of the greater part of the garrison and the conseqent reduction in military traffic for the railways; and the fall in the redemption prices upon which the land tithes are based. The cultivators pay their taxes in the form of tithes.
Economies have been effected in almost all the Departments of the Government in order to prevent a repetition of the deficit of last year. As the Palestinian officials are being trained to the efficient performance of their duties, it becomes possible to dispense with the services of a large number of the British officials. The financial situation of Palestine is now regarded very hopefully.