Following Military Victory, Syria Plans Economic Reforms – Part I

Dear Readers:

I saw this piece in VLGLIAD this morning, the writer is an analyst named Said Gafurov.

Said Gafurov

People who have following the devastating imperialist war waged on Syrian soil might be surprised to learn, that the Syrian economy is surviving, and even growing.  Recently the budget grew by one-third.  This is partly due to inflation, but not completely.  Following the Syrian army’s victory in Aleppo, the Moderate and Secular Arab coalition government of Syria, led by President Bashar al-Assad, now turns its attention to economic issues.  It is actively working to reform the banking system, encouraging imports, and opening new enterprises.  There is a Russian angle too, as Russian businesses see a possibility of future investments in the Syrian economy.

“Dad, you’re making me mad!”

Even American CIA analysts admit that the Syrian government has enjoyed much success in counter-acting Western economic sanctions.  If Sophocles was right that “He whom the gods would destroy, they first make mad,” then the corollary is that Westies, when they seek to destroy an entire nation and bring down a foreign government, attempt first to destroy it with economic sanctions.  Russia, a bug-a-bear to the West, is under economic sanctions.  As is Iran.  As is Syria.  What is a nation to do, when under brutal economic sanctions?  Do they give up and holler “Uncle!”  Not usually.  Usually they just hunker down and try to become as self-sufficient as possible.  Or they find alternate routes to get the stuff they need, when certain imports are cut off.  They might resort to smuggling.  Either way, they survive.  In Russia’s case, her economy has actually benefited in many ways from the sanctions.  It’s a bit different for Syria, which is a much smaller and more fragile nation, more Third-World-y, more dependent on Europe, and more vulnerable to international sanctions.

Not to mention that Syria has been the target of a vicious 5-year war launched by Westie proxies such as Al Qaeda and ISIS.  These violent Crusaders, breast-fed in Langley Virginia and launched upon secular Arab governments, succeeded in killing tens of thousands of otherwise-productive people and destroying a whole lot of valuable infrastructure.  The CIA report quoted by Gafurov salaciously lists the consequences of this Crusade against the Syrian people:  “… International sanctions, wide-ranging destruction of infrastructure, decrease in consumption and production, a cutback in government subsidies, and also a persistently high level of inflation.  All of this has combined to deplete Syria’s reserves of hard currency.  The result is a trade deficit, a devaluation of the Syrian currency, and a lowering of the overall purchasing power of the population.”  Nonetheless, the CIA report goes on to note that the Syrian government has enjoyed a degree of success in counter-acting all of these negative consequences of the war.

Budget Grows By One-Third

The Syrian budget prepared for 2017 shows a growth by one-third.  The budget has been prepared by the Parliament and signed off by the President.  Planned expenses are in the range of 2,660 billion (Syrian) pounds.  In American dollars, this is around $5.1 billion.  Of these budgeted expenses, around 1,982 billion pounds are allocated for operational expenses; and 678 billion for investment projects, including compensations to enterprises that were damaged in the war; and also for the restoration of valuable infrastructure objects which have been damaged.

The Syrian pound is known in international currency markets as SYP.

Social services expenses are budgeted at around 423 billion pounds.  (That’s just under $2 billion American dollars.)  This is a large amount for a small country like Syria, but it is necessary; not just for humanitarian reasons, but also to stimulate consumer demand on the internal market.

Inflation must be factored in and helps to explain why the budgeted expenses are up by 34% over last year.  But the negative factor of inflation is not the whole story.  An increased “tax discipline” can also be cited as a positive factor.  The government has been able to improve its collection of existing taxes (for example, a tax extracted from people when they obtain a driver’s license), and also to impose some new ones:  for example, extracting a tax from people for the privilege of becoming a licensed translator.

Hadiya Abbas

Earlier, there was a debate in the Syrian Parliament.  Speaker of the House Hadiya Khalaf Abbas was trying to figure out some ways to collect more revenues from the population.  Minister of Finances Mamoun Hamdan countered that you can’t squeeze blood from a stone.  In the past five years of war labor productivity has declined, in both the industrial sector and the services sector; and along with it, the spending cash of the population.  Upon which depends the overall quality of life.  Hamdan sees the solution in the development of national industry, rationalization of the import structure, administrative reforms, along with a fight against corruption.  In the course of the debate, other deputies demanded the introduction of effective measures to alleviate the tax burden on the population, as well as price-controls on certain markets.

[to be continued]

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