A Syrian man prepares bread in the northern city of Aleppo on November 3, 2013
A Syrian man prepares bread in the northern city of Aleppo on November 3, 2013 © Mohammed al-Khatieb - AFP/File
A Syrian man prepares bread in the northern city of Aleppo on November 3, 2013
AFP
Last updated: December 18, 2013

Syria to spend 45% of budget on subsidies

Syria will spend nearly 45 percent of its 2014 budget on subsidies in a bid to alleviate the suffering caused by nearly three years of war, state news agency SANA reported Wednesday.

Syria's economy has been eviscerated by the conflict, which has claimed an estimated 126,000 lives and displaced millions of people both within the country and across its borders.

President Bashar al-Assad approved a budget on Wednesday amounting to 1.390 trillion Syrian pounds ($9.26 billion/ 6.7 billion euros), more than 44 percent of which will be spent on subsidies, SANA said.

In 2013, the subsidies -- applied to oil, electricity, bread, rice and sugar -- amounted to 512 billion pounds, or 37 percent of the budget.

The new spending plans call for more than 380 billion pounds to be invested in state industries. That represents about 27.3 percent of the budget, up from 20 percent in 2013.

Finance Minister Ismail Ismail said the investments demonstrate "the will of the government to encourage production and support medium and small projects."

The government's two main sources of income -- oil and tourism -- have dried up since the start of the uprising. Today, income is mostly from taxes collected in the areas under government control.

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