Syria maintains spending in 2014 budget despite war losses

October 12, 2013 18:41


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BEIRUT - Syria's government has agreed a 2014 budget of 1.39 trillion pounds ($8.18 billion), state news agency SANA said on Saturday, a marginal increase on this year's spending despite the economic devastation wrought by more than two years of civil war.

The agency gave no breakdown of spending, which it said was 7 billion pounds higher than the 2013 budget, but it quoted Prime Minister Wael al-Halki as saying it would focus spending on education, health and agriculture sectors.

Syria's 2-1/2 year civil war has ruined the country's economy, causing tens of billions of dollars of damage and depriving it of crucial tourism and oil export revenues.

Figures released by the Central Bank showed its foreign reserves fell by more than a third in the first 10 months following the outbreak of protests against President Bashar Assad in March 2011.

But Syria has received extensive financial support from its ally Iran, including billions of dollars in credit facilities to buy oil products, to help shore up its finances.

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