Assad unveils $7B budget for 2019, mostly ‘investment’
Damascus: Syria’s president Thursday announced a budget for 2019 of just over $7 billion, of which around a third has been allocated to investment projects including in areas ravaged by the war.
Seven years into Syria’s grinding civil war, the Damascus government has expelled rebels and extremists from large parts of the country with Russian military backing.
President Bashar Assad issued the budget after the Parliament passed the bill Monday.
Next year’s budget would amount to 3.8 trillion Syrian pounds ($7.3 billion), state news agency SANA said. From that, 1.1 trillion pounds would be allocated to “investment,” SANA said.
Finance Minister Mamun Hamdan said 443 billion pounds would go to “investment projects in liberated areas, or to which the Syrian army brings back stability,” SANA quoted him as saying.
The minister also said that 700 billion Syrian pounds would be spend on electricity projects, without mentioning in which areas, according to state television.
Hamdan told newspaper AlWatan that the projected deficit for next year was 946 billion pounds.
The regime this year expelled rebels and extremists from the capital’s surroundings and the south of the country, bringing these areas back under its control.
A large chunk will go to ‘investment projects in liberated areas’
It has also threatened to retake the northwestern region of Idlib on the Turkish border, but the area is for now protected by a shaky buffer zone deal struck between Russia and rebel-backer Turkey in September.
The 2018 budget was of 3,187 billion pounds.
The war has killed 360,000 people and displaced millions since starting in 2011 with the brutal repression of anti-regime protests. –