Economy is fine despite challenges, says Syrian PM

Last Updated: Tue, Sep 17, 2013 12:30 hrs

Damascus, Sep 17 (IANS) Amid reports about economic losses of more than $100 billion, Syrian Prime Minister Wael al-Halqi emphasised that Syria's economy is still "fine" and that the government has succeeded in undermining all foreign plots to hit its economy.

A recent study issued by the non-governmental Syrian Centre for Policy Research said the losses of the Syrian economy till the middle of the current year have mounted to $103 billion, Xinhua reported Tuesday.

The study said that Syria lost nearly 2.3 million jobs during the same period that has resulted in a higher unemployment rate of up to 48.6 percent.

A recent study issued by the Syrian cabinet revealed that inflation rate has increased to 61.29 percent in April 2013.

Other unofficial figures have put the inflation rate at as high as 200 percent.

However, the Syrian prime minister said his government has striven to preserve the value of the Syrian pound in the face of foreign plots that aimed to undermine the national economy.

Al-Halqi said the monetary sector was one of the most important sectors in Syria that has been targeted six months following the start of the crisis in the country more than two-and-half years ago.

"Some countries have been planning to double the value of the US dollar against the Syrian pound by thousand-fold... but thanks to the government measures, it has increased only by three or four-fold, which is a reasonable proportion if compared to the scale of the crisis," al-Halqi said.

On the issue of food security, the prime minister said the government has a wheat reserve of about three million tonnes and was still importing wheat to preserve the stockpile.

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