Damascus, SANA – Deputy Prime Minister for Services Affairs, Local Administration Minister Omar Ghalawanji stated that the Ministry’s plan for 2015 will focus on establishing an investment fund to support the implementation of investment projects that yield higher revenues and profits, which in turn will contribute to the reconstruction process and the early recovery of national economy.
The Minister was addressing the parliamentary Balance and Accounts Committee during a meeting to discuss the Ministry’s budget for the fiscal year 2015 that was set at SYP 19.06 billion, in addition to discussing the mechanism of distributing the reconstruction allocations set at SYP 50 billion.
He noted that the overall cost of direct damage caused to the Ministry and the affiliated bodies due to terrorism is estimated at SYP 75 billion while indirect damage is estimated at more than SYP 200 billion.
Ghalawanji indicated that 5,200 facilities affiliated to the Ministry have been damaged, 900 of which were totally destroyed, in addition to the loss of more than 4,000 vehicles including construction and engineering machinery.
He added that the terrorist attacks claimed the lives of 670 Ministry workers and caused injury to more than a thousand others, not to mention the 100 abductees.
Ghalawanji attributed the decline in the Ministry’s activities to the current circumstances and lack of funding, highlighting the efforts exerted to rehabilitate infrastructure in the areas which have been recently secured by the army in order to facilitate the return of their inhabitants, in addition to providing aid as well as financial and technical support to the safe areas to accommodate the large number of displaced people who sought refuge in them.
He pointed out that 170,000 requests for compensation have been submitted by those whose properties were damaged due to the events affecting the country since 2011, noting that 18 citizen service centers were opened to facilitate procedures in this regard, with 12 more service centers to be opened next year.
The Minister added that SYP 200 million were allocated to rehabilitate 210 public transport buses which have been damaged, and to purchase 100 buses, 50 of which will be delivered by the end of 2014.
Rasha Raslan / Hazem Sabbagh