Scores of Industrial Facilities Cancelled in Damascus Countryside Due to Terrorist Acts

 

The ongoing crisis in Syria has overshadowed all aspects of life and caused great losses to the state and the citizens alike. The country’s public and private properties have been the target of West-backed armed terrorist groups and mercenaries for the past 22 months during which industrial and production facilities were stolen, destroyed or at least closed as a result of terrorist attacks.

Industry, particularly in the terrorism-hit city of Damascus Countryside, which includes thousands of industrial, investment and vocational facilities, was greatly affected. This city was an excellent model of industrial zones, because of its distinguished geographic position, good infrastructure and its being close to marketing centers.

The number of industrial and vocational facilities licensed under the provisions of investment law in Damascus Countryside reached 16829 by the beginning 2012. With a capital of (SYP) 130 billion, these facilities provided 86.000 job opportunities. The value of their equipments and machines exceeded (SYP) 50 billion.

An analytic view on the impacts of the ongoing crisis on the industrial activities in the city of Damascus Countryside showed that the current crisis has resulted in a notable decrease in the number of job opportunities as well as sales by 50-60%.

Eng. Ibrahim al- Biqa’i, Director of Damascus Countryside’s Industry, said in his analysis that the volume of industrial investments was also affected as industrialists refrained from importing equipments necessary for scheduled projects fearing terrorist attacks.

“Safety conditions are law and raw materials don’t reach targeted facilities causing further increase of materials’ prices which in turn negatively reflected on the competitiveness of national products and on the exportation activities which decreased remarkably, al-Biqa’i said.

He referred to the difficulty of providing basic infrastructure necessary for industry including power supplies like electricity, diesel oil and fuel due to the criminal acts particularly in terrorism-affected areas. “Many industrial facilities were stopped and the rate of production was decreased at 50%,” he pointed out.

Emergency plan

These challenges necessitated a plan so as to carry on industrial production. Therefore, according to al-Biqa’I, the Directorate of Industry of Damascus Countryside in coordination with the Industry Ministry, the Chamber of Industry and the governorate of Damascus Countryside were keen to facilitate procedures of providing licenses for enterprises, accelerate e-government process and restructure the directorate so as to achieve proper, attractive and encouraging environment and provide facilitations, including the exemption of vocational and industrial enterprisers from income taxes and customs since the current crisis is considered as a no work era.

Hurrying in fixing the damaged infrastructure of the industrial zones and seeking stable foreign currency exchange price and assessing the damages caused by the terrorist groups’ acts are needed in addition to encouraging the work of industrial facilities through offering well-studied discount on the accumulated installments of social insurance and granting a new exemption period to pay due loans, said al-Biqa'i.

Regarding the protection of strategic industries and production, Eng. Al-Biqa’i pointed out that the directorate, in cooperation with concerned parties, is keen to specify the strategic industries which directly affect citizens’ life in order to transfer them to safer and more stable areas. They are also trying to ensure protection to industrial and vocational facilities located in the safe areas and to help those who want to move their industries from hot areas. In addition, these parties are also keen to protect the movement of production convoys of industrial facilities and keep working around the clock to compensate for the loss of production.

Al-Biqa’i added that the directorate has tasked committees within the city's districts and administrative units with ensuring necessary protection of industrial facilities and to keep in contact with the industrial directorate, chamber of industry and the administrative units to update them with new developments.

More than 78 facilities were cancelled during the past four years. Most of them were cancelled due to terrorist acts in the past two years.

The number of cancelled vocational projects reached 56 including textile, chemical, food and engineering industries. However, no specific figure is provided by the directorate on the terrorism-hit facilities, despite the fact that many of them were damaged, closed ore moved to safer areas due to the siege, the armed terrorist groups’ acts of sabotage, stealing, killing and kidnapping, the increase of the foreign currency exchange rate, high prices of raw materials and the absence of safety on highways.

Statistical data at the Industry Chamber of Damascus and its countryside revealed that 145 facilities were damaged, but concerned parties in the chamber acknowledged that the number is bigger.

H. Mustafa 

Oil Ministry sets conditions for importing fuel

Oil and Mineral Resources Ministry has issued four rules for importing two items-fuel and diesel oil- by private sector and industrialists.

Under the defined rules, approval of the General Establishment for Storing and Distributing Oil Derivatives, widely known as "Fuel Est.", is a precondition to get import license.

In addition, specifications of imported items must be identical to that of the Syrian standards to a minimum, according to the rules published in the "Tishreen" Newspaper.

The other rule says: "In the case of importing the two items by sea through Lattakia port, the small carriers must be unloaded directly in tankers. However, the big carriers that arrive at Banias estuary must be unloaded in the Establishment's fuel tanks."

The delivery of shipments unloaded in the aforementioned places provides that the importers have, first, to pay all fees of receiving, unloading, storing and re-carrying the items to the tankers defined by "Fuel Est." and the Syrian Oil Company.

"But, if the items are imported by land, Customs Directorate has, monthly, to inform Fuel Est. about imported quantity and the importer," the rule says.  

The ministry took into consideration all necessary measures to be adopted by Customs Directorate as regards empty tankers' cross of the Syrian borders.

These rules came after the Economy and Foreign Trade Ministry's decisions No.3 and No.1595 which allow private sector and industrialists to import fuel and diesel oil.

The decisions were taken on the basis of the Cabinet's Economic Committee's approval.

Limited time

According to the decision No.3, the Private sector is allowed to import diesel oil till March,3rd, 2013. While the decision No.1595, which would be invalid on June, 30th, 2013, allows industrialists to import the quantity they need from fuel and diesel oil from different sources.

Exceptionally, the said decisions were made because of the ongoing circumstances in Syria caused by unfair economic sanctions imposed on it. They aim to help curb the crisis' impact on the sectors that depend on these two items.  

The sanctions, which ban importing oil derivatives, have forced Syria to depend, for the first time, on its oil production to cover local consumption by 50%.

Basma Qaddour

   

Economic Use of Resources, Improving Natural Vegetation and Pasture Management

DAMASCUS (ST)- The General Commission for the Management , Development and the Protection of the Badia (desert) works on the implementation of important projects aimed to raise the efficiency of the economic and sustainable use  to the Badia resources and improve the natural vegetation and pasture management through the development of open grasslands and its protection, especially in flood sites and rehabilitation of degraded sites.

Director General of the Commission, eng. Ali Hammoud, confirmed that his authority is working on the resettlement of extinct and endangered species, creating sanctuaries and gene banks, restoring the plant life, developing of the eco-tourism of the Badia and preserving the cultural heritage of the Badia.

“Nine environmental preserves were established of a total area estimated at 136,957 hectares  and 59 protected pastorals were created at a total area estimated at 785,894 hectares to improve vegetation in the Badia in addition to the establishment of 13 pastoral nurseries and 10 centers for multiplication of seeds to be a supporter to the livestock in the Badia in coperation with the Ministry of Agriculture and international organizations,” Hammoud pointed out.

Hammoud clarified that samplings of plant seeds from different locations in the Badia had been completed and has grown in pastoral nurseries for breeding, bringing the number of plant species collected from those sites 70 species,  a manual field also has been prepared which includes 63 species of medicinal plants, and the  branches of the Commission were provided recently with  the seeds of 50 species of different medicinal and aromatic plants to be bred.

It was also agreed with ACSAD  to apply a joint experiment in one of the Badia sites for the rehabilitation of  a deteriorating  pastoral site on this system during this period and planting oases of palm around the wells of the Badia due to importance of this tree and the suitable environment of the Badia and encouraging local people to grow palm trees to give an aesthetic landscape.

The authority is working to make pools and dig holes to store water  in the desert in cooperation with the Remote Sensing Association in order to benefit from the rain and storm water and providefor watering livestock, bringing the number excavations storage 36-hole in addition the drilling, renovating and equipping the wells in the Badia estimated at 324 wells.

Hammoud pointed out that the coordination is underway with the Planning and International Cooperation Association to ensure  the necessary funding for a project to manufacture dairy units in the desert, along with the completion of the studies on camels, oryx, ostriches and preparing a census of livestock ,the establishment of a network of camel  breeders and providing health care for the herds of sheep in cooperation with the ministry.

In the field  of development of infrastructure in the Badia, the General Commission supplied Wadi Al Heil village with  a water which lacks the network of drinking water though it is a center for sheep breeders in the Syrian desert  and 9 stations for water desalination were invested and run, including 3 stations in the  Badia of Al Hasaka, pointing out that all stations are ready to distribute water to the surrounding local communities as the number of households benefiting from each station at least 800 families with and the capacity of each station estimated at 100 cubic meters per day.

SH. KH.

The 2013 turnover to hit SP16bn, says foreign trade Est.

Net profits of the General Foreign Trade Establishment are expected to hit SP 2 billion in 2013 through business activities and commissions.

Speaking to the 'Tishreen' newspaper, the establishment's Director General said: "Because of business activities and commission got through ensuring local market's needs as regards items and necessary products the profits reached up to SP2bn."

Mohammad Hammod added the said profits are actual incomes under business standards.

The 2013-plan seeks to have a turnover of SP 16bn, while the value of purchases is to reach SP14.7bn.

Hammod noted that value of the establishment's stock is about SP109m.

However, the Gross National Product (GNP) estimated at SP3.5bn.

Currently, the establishment focuses on providing local market with main items including sugar, rice, and fertilizer.

B.Qaddour 

           

Abdullah: Mapping out Integrated Plan for Sustainability, Promotion of Agricultural Production

DAMASCUS, (ST)_ Minister of Agriculture, Eng. Sobhi  Al-Abdullah, said that the agricultural sector both plant and animal forms the backbone of the national economy, especially agriculture which is considered the mainstay of many industries as well as it is the main loop and the basic body
in securing food for citizens, which requires everyone in their respective locations follow tireless efforts to protect and develop this sector and to stop anyone who tries to tamper with it and take it out on his essential mission, stressing that Syria is still strong and provide support in economic and social domains.

During a meeting with a number of central directorates held yesterday at the ministry, Al Abdullah stressed  on the need to develop an integrated plan for the future to cope with the ambition and the future of the ministry and work under them in order to achieve sustainability of our products and promote ways of  proper marketing.

"The importance of the olive sector, which we have a large surplus of it and you should take advantage of this surplus in export and open new markets to it, and more importantly, the need to change patterns and the culture of consumption with respect to olive oil among the citizens which vary between producing provinces and eastern provinces so that discharge the surplus internally and it is possible to dispense with vegetable imported oils which cost the state millions of dollars," he pointed out.

The minister clarified the importance of olive oil in terms of food and medical noting that some countries like India want to import even paper olive because of its health benefits and aromatic.

He added that the large losses suffered by the agriculture sector due to terrorist acts and that the ministry will work to avoid them in the future within the available means and will not allow the terrorists break the will of the workers in this sector, especially farmers who are considered the foundation of the agricultural process.

Eng. Al Abdullah stressed the importance of diagnosing problems and determine the right thing for each of the joints of the ministry detailed and not allow to exercise any kind of corruption, especially in light of the crisis faced by Syria, stressing that Syria will return as a safe and  good country and enjoy security and freedom.

Sh.Kh.