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Syria’s Al-Assad Announces $9 Billion Budget for 2019

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Syria's president on Thursday announced a budget for 2019 of almost $9 billion, of which around a third has been allocated to investment projects including in areas ravaged by the war.

Seven years into Syria's grinding war, the Damascus government has expelled insurgents and Wahhabi militants from large parts of the country with Russian military backing.

President Bashar al-Assad issued the budget after the parliament passed the bill on Monday.

Next year's budget would amount to 3,882 billion Syrian pounds ($8.9 billion, according to the official exchange rate), state news agency SANA said.

From that, 1,100 billion pounds ($2.5 billion) would be allocated to "investment," SANA said.

Finance Minister Mamun Hamdan said 443 billion pounds ($1 billion) would go to "investment projects in liberated areas or to which the Syrian army brings back stability," SANA quoted him as saying.

The minister also said that 700 billion Syrian pounds ($1.6 billion) would be spend on electricity projects, without mentioning in which areas, according to state television.

Hamdan told al-Watan newspaper that the projected deficit for next year was 946 billion pounds (almost $2.2 billion).

The Syrian government this year expelled insurgents and Wahhabi militants from the capital's surroundings and the south of the country, bringing these areas back under its control.

It has also threatened to retake the northwestern region of Idlib on the Turkish border, but the area is for now protected by a shaky buffer zone deal struck in September between Russia and Turkey.

The 2018 budget was of 3,187 billion pounds ($7.3 billion).

Source: News Agencies, Edited by website team

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