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BRICS reach deal on development bank

The BRICS grouping of emerging powers on Tuesday reached a deal to establish a development bank that would rival Western-backed institutions, South Africa's finance minister said.

"It's done," minister Pravin Gordhan said after meeting with his counterparts from Brazil, Russia, India and China,according to SABC NEWS.

"We made very good progress, the leaders will announce the details," he added, just hours before a summit in the South African port city of Durban.

The bank is likely to focus on infrastructure financing, a direct challenge to seven decades of dominance by the World Bank.

It is the first time since the inaugural BRICS summit four years ago that the group matches rhetorical demands for a more equitable global order with concrete steps.

Together the BRICS account for 25% of global GDP and 40% of the world's population. But members say institutions like the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the United Nations Security Council are not changing fast enough reflect their new-found clout.

In the face of competing policy demands, BRICS negotiators had been under pressure to come up with an agreement that proves the grouping is relevant.

And to reach a deal that would send a strong message to the United States and Europe that the current balance of power is untenable. But an Indian diplomat involved in the talks told AFP many of the details are likely to be left for another day, allowing leaders to announce a deal, however tentative.

The bank is not likely to be up and running for years. Brazil's central bank chief also told AFP there was also good progress made on a deal to establish currency swap lines, which is likely to be worth in the region of $100 billion.  "We are working on it," said Alexandre Tombini.

The fund would be used to draw on in times of liquidity or other  crises and to encourage trade. Securing both deals is a thumb in the eye to those who argue the BRICS is little more than a talking shop for disgruntled nations.

It is also a boon for BRICS leaders many who have tethered their  reputations to a deal. Xi Jinping has underscored the growing importance of the group by making Durban his first summit as China's president.

  In a keynote speech in Tanzania on Monday Xi vowed Beijing's "sincere friendship" with the continent, and a relationship that respects Africa's "dignity and independence."

  Diplomats say it could start with $10 billion seed money from each country, but the exact role of the bank is up for debate.

Meanwhile host President Jacob Zuma has lauded the summit as a means of addressing his country's chronic economic problems including high unemployment. "BRICS provides an opportunity for South Africa to promote its competitiveness" Zuma said in a speech on the eve of the summit.

"It is an opportunity to move further in our drive to promote economic growth and confront the challenge of poverty, inequality and unemployment that afflicts our country."

Meanwhile China would no doubt like the bank to invest in trade-multiplying projects. The currency swaps would open the door for BRICS countries to tap some of China's massive $3.31 trillion foreign reserves, the world's largest.

Brazil also signed a bilateral accord with China to promote trade in their national currencies. BRICS leaders will also establish business and think tank councils and launch an investigation into how trade can be more balanced, with other BRICS countries exporting more to China.


New Job Opportunities for Youths in As-Sweida

  As-Sweida- (ST) - Within the framework of the Syrian government's plan to implement a special  program to find job opportunities for Syrian youths at the country's public institutions, the As–Sweida Governorate Council made a number of decisions that help local institutions employ graduated youths based on the needs of these institutions.

According to the decisions, some 200 young people will be employed in different places in the governorate.

  The decisions were made in implementation of the government's plan to ensure job opportunities for the Syrian youths.

Nahla  Ma'az – As- Sweida

Mayaleh: Measures to restore the purchasing power of the Syrian lira

DAMASCUS,(ST)_ The  Governor of the Central Bank of Syria Dr. Adib Mayaleh  stressed that the fierce war being waged against Syria and its people stands primarily behind the decline in the exchange rate of the Syrian pound against the dollar in addition to the psychological element  that drives some citizens  to convert their  savings from the Syrian lira to foreign currencies.

In an interview with the Syrian TV on Sunday, Mayaleh said that the lira is still strong   as many people bet  that it's falling within months and this will not happen. He added that the high exchange rate of the dollar against the Syrian lira during last  week fell since Wednesday evening.

Mayaleh explained that the central bank continues to meet the needs of the national economy by providing hard currency for the imports as well as for  non-commercial operations including  medications and students abroad.

He continued  that the central bank would take several measures to protect the lira , including issuance of  deposit certificates at high  interest rates in order  to compensate citizens for their loss and to restore the purchasing power of the lira.

Mayaleh called  on Syrian citizens to submit their complaints to the Central Bank  in order to take the necessary measures to maintain the stability of exchange rate of the Lira .

Mayaleh noted the role played by Russia and China in support of the Syrian economy and the growing economic relationship with Iran, which is  linked with Syria to a credit line of one billion dollars. A sum sufficient to support the exchange rate of the Syrian Lira.


T. Fateh

Restructuring industrial public sector

The law of creating the Ministry of Industry is designed to modify the tasks entrusted to the ministry and converting it gradually to the Ministry of Industrial Policies, whereas the Director of Planning in the Ministry, Reem Hella Lee, confirmed that the draft law must contain the main tasks that the ministry will work on and map out the initial vision for this restructuring, noting that there is an initial draft was prepared in this regard.
 “The draft law regulating the industry which aims to organize the process of granting licenses and industrial records and the process of control to develop a database for the industrial sector is ready and needs to be adopted by the ministry and the Chambers of Industry,” Ms. Hella Lee pointed out.

Ms. Hella Lee revealed the operational procedures that the Ministry of Industry is working on during the next phase such as "restructuring the industrial public sector where she indicated the presence of procedural matters that need to be followed as the reduction of the production cost, processing of waste and re-evaluation of all fixed assets and traded in the mother industrial companies which need to consultants and financial experts in this area."

“It is necessary to hold meetings with the boards of the industrial establishments and follow the implementation of their production and investment plans and evaluate the performance of companies for the year 2012, subsequently necessary measures can be taken that could facilitate overcome some of the difficulties experienced by companies and institutions as well as launching a program to rehabilitate the Ministry of Industry in the event of adopting the descriptive form of ministry’s  tasks which requires competent cadres in the light of the new tasks of the central directorates and cope with the new role of the ministry,” Ms. Hella Lee clarified.

 The ministry, in its executive programs, didn’t forget following up the procedures for implementing the matrix of maximize the added values generated from the manufacture of sugar beet and discuss the possibility of starting the implement of what can be implemented within the available capabilities of this matrix and begin setting up a database of the industrial sector and linking it with the Directorate of Industry in Damascus and its countryside through a committee working in this area and is implementing a project of skills in the construction sector in cooperation with the Syrian Business Center.

Concerning a law, issued nearly two years ago, for protecting the growing industry but it is not activated, Ms. Hella Lee showed that this law needs to some procedures, citing the need to find a mechanism for linking scientific research with  industry in cooperation with the Ministry of Higher Education, other scientific research bodies with the necessity of activating the Tests Center and Industrial Researches and mapping out an initial vision about the linking mechanism among the scientific research, Syrian universities, the Federation of Chambers of Industry and the Ministry of Industry.

Concerning industrial clusters, the executive programs confirmed the need to choose an industrial area from within the industrial zones which has been certified with the Regional Planning Commission to be a gathering for industrial textile in the governorates of Damascus and Aleppo, Ms. Hella Lee indicated the possibility of following-up of this project within the available capabilities with the industrial modernization project and the Directorate of Planning at the ministry.

“The ministry is currently pursuing the implementation of the program of supporting the  infrastructure for quality which aims to create a system of work in a competitive environment capable of production and export most convenient and easiest ways in addition to the industrial modernization program, which seeks to rehabilitate a number of companies operating in the textile sector to upgrade this sector and reach to top added values that can be realized of this sector and the rehabilitation of eleven public company, including ten companies operating within the textile sector where the output of this project is expected to be the main base for the  systematic reform process adopted by the ministry,” Ms. Hella Lee added.

The ministry, in coordination with the Regional Planning Commission, according to Hella Lee, conducted a strategy by adopting 25 industrial development zones depends essentially on the formation of industrial clusters within the governorates of the country according to the available resources in the approved areas.

Sh. Kh.

Industry Ministry: Continuation of Production Process in Strategic Sectors

DAMASCUS, (ST) - Reflections of the current crisis experienced by the country and its negative impacts on the industrial sector, both public and private sectors, made the Ministry of Industry amend its programs in implementing its vision for the development of this sector, which contributes about 10 to 12 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) during the next phase.

Through the implementation of its new vision, Industry Ministry focuses on developing transformational industries in a sustainable manner in order to raise levels of investment, employment and output in a parallel way, strengthening the role of the industrial public sector, intensifying efforts to ensure the maintenance of infrastructure, human and material resources and the continuation of the production process, especially in strategic sectors.

The Ministry of Industry, in its note, underlined the trend towards supporting the private sector and focusing on the sectors of small and medium industries’ sectors as a social security net and thus contributes to reduce the production costs and ensure the smooth running of the production process.

The ministry has set the starting point of its work of the legislative environment governing the industrial work and reconsider some of the legislations governing it and issuing other legislations to raise the competitive capability of this sector, including legislations governing the work of the industrial public sector to map out a preliminary vision about the shape of the industrial public sector and its role in the coming phase.

The ministry prepared a draft law to create the Industrial Modernization Center in order to rehabilitate and restructure the industrial plants and because of the importance of industrial development, the ministry is working to make a special fund for industrial development to be a key tool for financing and granting soft loans to the small and medium industrial enterprises.

The ministry also prepared a draft law to create the Technical Center of Textile as a helping tool to maximize the added value generated from the textile sector.

The ministry didn’t ignore the creation of a body governing quality to develop the system of the infrastructure of quality in Syria and its agreement with international requirements, with an emphasis on the need for a new law for standardization regulates the process of developing specifications in accordance with accepted international practices.

The ministry said that there are things stuck between the project of quality and the specifications in this matter and the quality program did not receive any respond to these points since more than two months as well as the law regulating industrial laboratories, which seeks to regulate the investment process in industrial chemical laboratories where they are working on it by the quality project team and it needs four months.

The urgent need that emerged in the crisis that prevailed in the local market in addition to the existing laws that govern the exchange of goods and inconsistencies among them, the need has emerged to issue a censorship law on markets where the ministry stressed that there is a need for consensus on a national system for the control of markets indicating that this matter needs to six months for action.