Global financial crisis will affect budget - Syrian Finance Minister

Business Materials 18 November 2008 22:33 (UTC +04:00)

The global financial crisis will have a negative impact on the Syrian economy in the coming months, particularly on next year's state budget, Syrian Minister of Finance Mohammad al-Hussain said on Tuesday.

Al-Hussain said that the crisis urged the state to increase government investments in the different sectors, dpa reported.

"Around 275 billion Syrian Pounds (6.1 billion dollars), of the state budget estimated at 685 billion Syrian Pounds, are allocated for investments," al-Hussain told the unofficial channel Life TV.

Al-Hussain said such an allocation reflects the desire of the government to face the crisis, which he believes will "affect most countries but in different proportions".

Regarding a consideration that State budget for 2009 would have deficit reaching 226 billion Syrian pounds, al-Hussain said that this is only an assumption that can drop, in the case of an increase in world oil prices.

Syria has recently announced that its production of crude oil fell from 600 thousand barrels per day in 2004 to 385 thousand barrels. The decline has led to the transformation of Syria from a net- expoprter of oil to an importer of oil products.

Al-Hussain said that his country is about to apply the value-added tax of 2010.

Al-Hussain, who is a prominent member of the ruling Baath party, added that this tax would replace 12 other taxes, and will help to improve the pension provision in the country.

The public budget deficit for this fiscal year has neared 192 billion Syrian pounds. The average per capita income among Syrians is 150-300 dollars a month.