UNITED STATES (OBSERVATORY NEWS) — Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on Thursday issued a budget bill for next year totaling 9.2 billion dollars, without noticing the deficit of the electricity sector, which suffered huge damage during the war that lasted more than eight years.
The conflict in Syria since 2011 has caused enormous damage to infrastructure and caused huge losses to the economy, and the United Nations estimated more than a year ago the cost of destruction at about $ 400 billion.
The official Syrian news agency “SANA” that Assad issued the law to “determine the allocations of the state budget for fiscal year 2020 at a total amount of 4000 billion Syrian pounds.”
The official exchange rate of the lira is currently 434 against the US dollar, according to the Central Bank of Syria, while the value of the lira fell sharply on the black market on Thursday to 800 pounds, the lowest level since the outbreak of the conflict.
The total value of the 2020 budget did not differ from this year’s budget, but the new budget does not note the losses of the electricity company.
The members of the People’s Assembly criticized during the budget debate sessions the size of the fiscal deficit, which increased by 54 percent from the current budget, according to the Syrian newspaper Al Watan.
Finance Minister Maamoun Hamdan said Wednesday that “the deficit has not been shown as the deficit of the electricity company, which reached 711 billion dollars (1.6 billion dollars), remained outside the budget” to be added to the general budget. 2021.
During the conflict, the electricity sector suffered major damage, which was estimated by the head of the Public Electricity Generation Corporation, Mahmoud Ramadan, to exceed one trillion and 200 billion Syrian pounds, El Watan reported in September.
The budget comes a week after Assad issued a decision to increase the salaries of civilian and military workers, ranging from $ 37 to $ 46, benefiting more than 2.1 million employees and retirees.
Syrians are suffering from difficult living conditions with widespread unemployment and the devaluation of the local currency, which is a tangible sign of the debilitating economy, with shrinking incomes and revenues and declining foreign exchange reserves.
Syria is under US and European economic sanctions that have caused more losses and a fuel crisis this year that has imposed a codification of quantities distributed to consumers.
With government forces now controlling more than 60 percent of Syria’s territory and spreading into Kurdish-controlled areas in the northeast, several officials, including Assad, reiterate that their country faces a new war of economic blockade and sanctions.
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