| 30 May 2024, Thursday |

Syria approves $5 bln budget for 2022 as crisis bites

Syrian parliamentarians have adopted a draft budget for 2022 of $5.3 billion, down from $6.8 billion this year, as a rising economic crisis wreaks havoc on public finances and threatens basic commodities subsidies.

The Syrian economy has been destroyed by a decade of war, Western sanctions, and the coronavirus epidemic, forcing the majority of the people into poverty as the value of the Syrian pound has plunged.

Over the last two years, government budget has been reduced by more than 40%, endangering a key social support program.

The 2022 budget, which still needs to be signed by President Bashar al-Assad, has been set at 13.325 trillion Syrian pounds, according to the official SANA news agency late Tuesday.

At a central bank exchange rate of 2,512 pounds to the dollar, this equates to $5.3 billion.

The budget for this year was 8.5 trillion pounds ($6.8 billion), based on a prior exchange rate of 1,250 pounds to the dollar.

It was predicted to be approximately $9 billion in 2020.

According to SANA, Finance Minister Kanan Yaghi stated that “the policy of social protection is a steady one that will not be messed with” in the next year.

He stated that the 2022 budget contains 5.53 trillion Syrian pounds ($2.2 billion) for a social support program that includes gasoline, wheat, flour, sugar, and rice subsidies.

The government put aside 3.5 trillion Syrian pounds ($2.8 billion) for social assistance last year.

“The government is in the midst of creating a new support formula with the goal of distributing it to those who need it the most,” Yaghi was quoted as saying by SANA.

The budget also allocated around 2 trillion pounds for investment and set the projected deficit for next year at 4.1 trillion pounds ($1.6 billion).

  • AFP