Syrian Economy not to Collapse/ Arabian Business 19-6-2012
The Syrian economy will not collapse and GDP growth will be positive this year, Mohammad Jleilati, the Minister of Finance, was quoted as saying in a press interview.
In a rare public announcement on the government’s estimates and forecasts on the economy, Mr Jleilati told Arabian Business, a UAE online publication, that he expected GDP to increase between 0 and 2 percent this year and fiscal deficit to stand at 6-7 percent.
Mr Jleilati also said that the rate of unemployment had risen from 12 percent of the labour force to 25 percent in the last 15 months. On the situation of the oil sector, Mr Jleilati said that he expected Syria to resume oil exports within a month after it finalises discussions on an export contract, although he did not mention how much of this oil or where it would be exported.
After it was banned last year from selling oil to the EU, which took over 90 percent of crude exports, the government is known to have entered into a barter deal with Venezuela to exchange crude oil for naphtha but no other contract has been made public in months.
Likewise, Mr Jleilati added that his government will secure “shortly” enough gas to make up for the shortages witnessed in the market lately.
Mr Jleilati, who before becoming Minister of Finance last year worked as head of the Securities Exchange, predicted that the Syrian economy would not collapse because Syria “(depended) on its own resources.”
He added that the sanctions imposed by western countries hadn’t "really affected the state per se but the lives of citizens," and admitted that foreign investments were close to nil: “of course no foreign investor is coming now and putting their money in a project amid the current conditions.”