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Syrian budget deficit widens to US$5.32 billion in 2009
Source: BI-ME and agencies , Author: BI-ME staff
Posted: Tue December 23, 2008 12:00 am

SYRIA. The deficit of the Syrian state budget for 2009 has gone up to SYP 266 billion (some US$5.320 billion), Syrian Minister of Finance Mohammad Al-Hussein said this week.

The deficit of the draft budget, approved by President Bashar Al-Assad earlier in the day, accounts for 9.25% of the country's gross domestic product (GDP), the Minister pointed out.

The budget, involving total funds of SYP 685 billion, or US$13.7 billion, is in line with the tenth five-year development plan of the state particularly in the domain of public spending, he noted.

The government has developed a range of controls over the public spending on the administrative aspects in next year.

The controls include rationalising the costs of updating the offices and vehicles of the state departments and transferring the subsequent cash surplus to service and productive sectors in order to improve the standard of living of the citizens, Al-Hussein explained.

The new state budget takes into account the impacts of the global financial crisis and the slowdown of the world economic growth, he underscored.

The budget will take effect as of 1 January 2009, in line with the provisions of the constitution.

It sets aside 40.1% of the total funds, or SYP 275 billion to the investment sector, and the remaining 59.9% or SYP 410 billion to current spending, the Minister revealed.

Spending on investment in the new state budget grew by SYP 45 billion or by 19.56% while the current spending grew by SYP 40 billion or 10.81% compared with that of the 2008 state budget, he noted.

The budget is based on estimates of the prices of Syrian light oil crude and heavy crude at US$51 and US$42 per barrel.

It targets creating over 59,300 new jobs, Al-Hussein added.



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