PA refers 2016 state general budget bill to Budget and Accounts Committee

Damascus, SANA – The People’s Assembly referred the bill on the 2016 state general budget, which is set at SYP 1,980 billion, to the Budget and Accounts Committee for study and scrutiny.

The 2016 state general budget exceeds the 2015 budget by SYP 426 billion, marking an increase of around 27.41%, and is divided into 1,470 billion for the current budget, which is SYP 326 billion (28.5%) more than it was in 2015. The remaining 510 billion are allocated for the investment budget, which was set at 100 billion last year.

Allocations for social support, which will go towards stabilizing prices in markets, are set at SYP 192.25 billion, while allocations for wages, salaries, and compensations are set at 372.07 billion, which is 56.02 billion more than in 2015.

Finance Minister Ismael Ismael said that the methodical destruction of infrastructure by terrorists and the unjust sanctions imposed on Syria have had many negative ramifications that affected all economic indicators and caused a sharp decline in local production.

Finance Minister

He added that the crisis also caused a drop on financial reserves and a deficit in the trade balance due to the decrease in production and the need to import goods to provide citizens’ needs, and at the same time the exports have declined, which resulted in a sharp drop in the SYP exchange rate against foreign currency and in the treasury resources, in addition to causing prices to rise.

Ismael said the government took many steps to alleviate the effects of the crisis, which made it possible to continue procuring citizens’ needs, providing subsidies, and supporting economic activities.

He explained that the priorities Finance Ministry’s work include providing the resources needed by the state general treasury, supporting the financial and banking sector, and providing credit facilitations to economic activities, reviewing the policies of the government for financial reform in the coming stage, which will focus on tax reform.

For his part, head of the Budget and Accounts Committee at the Assembly Hussein Hassoun said the current budget is an inflation budget with a deficit of around SYP 621.730 billion, noting that the bigger running budget shows that the government is focusing on the social aspect via subsidies, health services, education, and so on, while the increase in the investment budget shows interest in supporting investment and developing the economy.

Hassoun said the 2016 budget will provide 64,778 job opportunities compared to 94,599 in 2015, which is 29,821 less, while SYP 4.5 billion were allocated to finance projects to generate more job opportunities.

In turn, Assembly members discussed a number of issues pertaining to the budget, stressing the need to achieve self-sufficiency and food security, supporting agricultural production, increasing allocations for scientific research, caring for the families of martyrs and injured people, and curbing tax evasion via a methodical plan.

Hazem Sabbagh

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