Central Bank Always Defends SP Exchange Rate- Mayaleh

 DAMASCUS,(ST)_ Governor of the Central Bank of Syria Dr. Adib Mayaleh  stressed that the  recent low exchange rate of the Syrian Pound SP against  US $  in  irregular market at SP  136 from SP 145  indicates that this increase is  "a continuation of speculating on the SP , taking advantage of the closure of banks and licensed banking institutions during the official holiday . "

"Volume of  operations implemented at SP 145 per  US$  is almost negligible, a matter which  confirms that the quoted prices in  the black market are fake , in order to achieve illegal gains."Mayaleh said. 

He indicated  that the  current SP  official exchange rate against the U.S. $ is SP 128.5  per US$, according to which import operations are financed  to ensure continued  flow of goods and basic materials at affordable prices. 

He  confirmed that the central bank still embarks on an ongoing process to intervene by selling foreign exchange to banks and exchange institutions to maintain  the stability of the  exchange rate and SP. 

He noted  tighten campaigns carried out by the Central Bank and  competent authorities to adjust irregular activities in the black market ,stop the dealers  and fine them  heavily , according to enforced laws and regulations.

Dr. Mayaleh warned citizens  against the  consequences of rumors that  manipulators disseminate  in the black market to exploit their need for foreign exchange and speculate on the exchange rate,  stressing that the central bank "is constantly ready  to defend the exchange rate and that its cash reserves are  strong  and enough for that."


T. Fateh

Copper Industry in Syria Dates Back to Ancient Times

DAMASCUS, (ST) - Syria remains an ancient land that has enjoyed involvement and interaction with many different civilizations over the last ten thousand years.Syria’s historical importance and its crucial location at the crossroads of several ancient trading routes mean that a wide variety of crafts have developed.

In the city of Aleppo there are markets dedicated to protecting hand- made copper goods, to ensure that this ancient craft doesn’t vanish. Copper artifacts have been discovered all over the region. Some of these artifacts date to the Bronze age around 3000 BCE. Historians have identified a number of uses for the material including weaponry, jewelry and ornaments. These items give us information about the way ancient peoples lived and interacted.

Craftsmen Union in the city is trying to revive this world- famous industry by establishing a training center and promoting the local and regional trade of copper products. There are several processes involved in the production of copper goods, including cutting, welding and ornamentation. The metal then has to be thoroughly cleaned before it is suitable for sale.

Currently, only a small handful of artisans continue to practice this craft. However, local people are being encouraged to learn the skills needed to make ornate copper items which will be suitable for commercial sale.   

Copper industry, is one of the leading features that, has distinguished Damascus since ancient times as large international museums include many copper pieces such as pitchers, dishes, cups censers, candlesticks and chandeliers.To make these things, the Syrian craftsman used various types of available metal foils with various creative methods such as carving, pressure, hammering, inlaying, and plating.

Inscribing on the metal is to cut or scratch decorative lines either using the hammer and sharp pointed tool  or a small pen designed for digging or by using acid on the surface of the metal to be decorated as diluted nitric is used and the surface of the metal  is covered with wax and then the drawing  lines will be determined by a thin metal pen until the substance reaches into the metal surface which is eroding  an the depth of digging depends on the duration of leaving the acid over the surface of the metal and this process is called freckling (tanmish).

Hammering the metal is a kind of artistic works implemented on copper such as trays and vases. The cooper items are pounded with a hammer and special chisels, in conformity with designed drawings that represent Islamic, Roman, Christian and Persian historic stories   including geometric shapes and writings of Quranic verses and this type of works is implemented on red copper being soft.

Plating (Al Takfit) is installing wires or metal foils of gold or silver on the surface of another metal by digging drawings with a solid sharp pointed tool, then these cooper items are ornamented with gold or silver wires by light hammering.

The artisan, Ahmad Rateb AlDa’nei confirmed that he makes, in his workshop located in the area of Bab Sharki , Eastern lanterns, chandeliers and Arabic coffee pots and decorates them with plant- shaped drawings. He sells his products in the local market and some are exported to Gulf countries and Europe.

In the Mamluk era, metal curiosities carried the features that distinguish that era. New decorative expressions were added to the traditional plant decorations. What was commonly used is a drawing to a pair of birds in arranged positions added inside rhombics as seen on a pitcher in the Metropolitan Museum in New York, which bears the name of King al-Nasir Muhammad bin Qalawun.

It was also widely used flying ducks about official badges which include titles and the names of Mamluk sultans and what reflects this work is a pitcher to Mohammad Al –Khazindar. In Metropolitan Museum, there are four pieces represent the Damascene industry and its superior splendor in this art. The pieces are pen case, two censers, and a bowl and each one of the pieces is rich with silver and gold.

The style shows its history at the end of the thirteenth century or the beginning of the fourteenth century, while the pen case is considered as one of the best-known examples and masterpieces produced by Mamluk industry. It is plated with gold and silver and adorned with drawings from inside and out.

The most famous pieces of this group are called baptism basin of St. Louis that is kept at Allover Museum in Paris, which was made by Mohammed bin Al- Zein.The basin is rich in animal and human figures.

Copper pots with human figures like the products produced by the factories of Aleppo and Damascus of glass coated with enamel.  These products can be attributed to the makers of Syria at the end of the thirteenth century and the beginning of the fourth century.
The production of Egypt and Syria of Mamluk metal objects kept up a large degree of perfection during the fourteenth century and then methods of floral expressions continued especially at the end of that era and we can see an evidence of this in several pieces at the Metropolitan Museum.

Sh. Kh

Economy Minister: Supporting Prospects of Investment, Small Ventures in Syria

Damascus, (ST) - Minister of Economy and Foreign Trade, Dr. Mohammed Zafer  Mahbaq, has underlined the need to strengthening the role of the Syrian Investment Agency under the current circumstances in the country to boost the reality and the prospects for investment in Syria.

The minister, who recently chaired the Board of Directors of the Investment Authority, told reporters that the investment is the mainstay of the economy in any country and the key to solve problems in different circumstances and challenges related to the fight against poverty and the fight against inflation, unemployment, raise the level of income for citizens and increase the competitiveness of exports, especially in light of the crisis in which we live now.

He pointed to the importance of the transfer of our funds to investments and distributing them to sectors and areas that are in need, confirming that Syria possesses many natural and human resources which require finding the needed formula to activate each of these energies that we have.

He noted that the Investment Authority has a qualified cadre of high experience and good behavior, indicating that the successes achieved by the Authority in the previous period imposed greater challenges to achieve more success stressing the necessity to take advantage of the international experiences and the new economic data, strengthen positive points and overcome point of weakness, innovate solutions to the problems facing the Investment Authority in its work to promote its role  in attracting investments, providing an appropriate environment and directing investments to regions and sectors most in need.

During the first quarter of the current year, the Investment Authority carried out 8 projects, 3 in industry sector only at an estimated cost of about 7. 964 billion Syrian pounds, while in the past year, the Authority carried out 45 projects at a cost of 37. 6 billion Syrian pounds .  The industrial sector won the biggest share of these projects amounted to 26 .

Earlier, Dr. Mahbaq said that there are two projects to support small and micro-projects , the first relates to the current stage and what is going through Syria and the second has nothing to do with the crisis and comes in the context of the organization for the future.

"There are financial surpluses in an international organization for the benefit of the Ministry of Economy, the ministry has proposed a project on how to rehabilitate the damaged  small projects to work." Dr. Mahbaq stated.

He added: "These surpluses alone are not enough and the ministry has asked several local bodies to support the social idea for this project, most of which are charities in order to ensure jobs that may not be realized in economic or commercial market."

About the priority in providing support, Dr. Mahbaq clarified that it will be for the least cost projects that employ more workers and specialized in the production of food stuff.

With regard to the second project on the support of small and micro ventures, Dr. Mahbaq explained that the ministry has put forward a draft decree to the Cabinet includes the creation of a public body for small projects that includes ensuring all the opportunities of success for these projects.

Dr. Mahbaq pointed out that the Investment Authority will support any suitable and successful person  in accordance with standards to ensure this success. Dr. Mahbaq  noted that many facilities will be offered to the owners of these projects.

He pointed out that the mechanism of payment to the Fund will be taken of the surplus of the project's income so that this surplus is enough after a period to finance another project which ensures sustainability and continuity of the work. The proposed Fund's  capital is 5 billion Syrian pounds whereas coordination will be conducted with bodies concerned  such as the Ministries of Labor, Industry and Agriculture, where The Ministry of Economy has put the mechanism of action of this body.

Sh. Kh.

Agriculture Ministry Supports Syrian Apiarists

DAMASCUS, (ST) - The Syrian bees species are distinguished as the best in the world in producing the royal food and honey. The Syrian bees have the ability to survive in winter with the lowest amount of food. The Syrian bees are superior to all foreign species in resisting the destitution of the pastures.

The Syrian government supports the individual initiatives of the apiarists that led to an increase in the number of bee hives to 601,979 in 2010 compared to 595,394 in 2009.

Head of the Bees Bureau in the Ministry of Agriculture, Qasim al-Boushi, said that raising bees is concentrated in Damascus countryside, Idleb, Lattakia, Hama, Tartous, Aleppo, Homs and Daraa governorates.

He added that Syria's production of honey in 2010 reached 2,957 tons and 120 tons of honey wax compared to 2,771 tons of honey and 117 tons of honey wax in 2009.

Al-Boushi said that Syria imports several amounts of honey from the Arab countries which are members of the Great Arab Free Trade Area "GAFTA" according to medical and health conditions that are in line with the Syrian standards, while Syria exports limited amounts of the Syrian honey to the neighboring countries.

He stressed the importance of the economic feasibility of bees as raising bees contributes to improving the production of the agricultural crops by 25-35 percent through their role in natural pollination.

The number of the apiarists in Syria estimated at 20,000 as about 30,000 families work in this career.

Al-Boushi pointed out to an integrated plan to improve the species of the Syrian bees through a program which aims at improving the characteristics of the Syrian bee, increasing its productivity of honey and reducing its diseases, in addition to the efforts being exerted by the Ministry of Agriculture to increase the bee raising centers.

Sh. Kh.

Olive Pomace .. Alternative Heating Source

HAMA, (ST) - The need and the lack of heating sources because of the current crisis and the difficulty of transporting forced many residents of Hama to use "olive pomace" as an alternative to face the winter season because the price of the material is cheap and it is easy to obtain.

The quantities of pomace, resulting from pressing olives, in the governorate exceeded 40 thousand tons. It is the suitable alternative for heating purposes in such circumstances instead of diesel as well as there is a possibility to convert it to a source of clean power

Pomace contains organic material and has very light proportions of oil. It is quite suitable for burning and if it is compressed and pressed, it does not produce any carbon emissions or emit toxic pollutants, but it is a rich substance in mineral elements.

 “It has become necessary to find ways to re-use this material because of the cheap price, ease of manufacturing, as well as to be used for heating purposes contributes to the reduction of over-logging operations that forests and forestry exposed to in the governorate,” agronomist, Salem Farah, said.

Director of the Olive Bureau in the Department of Forestry in Hama city agronomist, Mazen Tayfour, said that there are 40 olive oil presses working in Hama and huge quantities of pomace in front of the doors of the oil press nearly one thousand ton in each oil press.

Mr. Tayfour said that this material can be pressed and offered to the consumer in cylindrical- small shaped pieces to be sold for heating, pointing out that some studies and experiments confirmed that the burning of one kilogram of pulp produced by the thermal energy is equivalent to burning 1.4 liter of fuel oil.

Mr. Tayfour said that there is a lack of specialized plants to manufacture small cubes of pomace except one north of the village of Umm al Toyour west of Hama city.

The price per ton of this material is estimated at 2500 Syrian pounds as it can be utilized in agricultural operations, fertilizers and heating. The material is cheap and clean compared with wood and fuel oil anddoes not have any odors when operating.

Agronomist, Ahmed Harba, said that the material can be used in various fields as home heating within residential houses by using specialized stoves or for central heating purposes as well as in cooking, heating greenhouses, farms and in the tobacco furnaces.

“Wood compressed panels ,fodder for livestock can be made of this material due to its  richness in organic and mineral materials, explaining that it is better to add it directly in the autumn,  as an organic fertilizer for fruit trees and field crops,” Mr, Harba stressed.

Sh. Kh.