Industry Minister: Counting on Cooperation with UNIDO

(ST)- The Minister of Industry, Kamal Tomah, has underlined that Syria is counting heavily on cooperation with UNIDO as one of the important actors in the process that will help us develop the manufacturing sector which is witnessing a comprehensive review and restructuring the public sector enterprises and enabling the private sector to contribute more in the development and modernization of industrial policy through stimulating and supporting institutions.

In his speech during a meeting of the fifteenth session of the General Conference of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) held recently in the capital of Peru, Lima, Mr. Tomah pointed out to the development of cooperation between Syria and the UNIDO in recent years through the implementation of numerous studies and programs that have contributed to the promotion and supporting the efforts of Syria to develop its industry, both at the level of strategies, policies, or at the level of supporting institutions, noting that the results of this cooperation constituted an important and useful instrument in the preparation of plans and policies of industrial development in Syria, whereas this cooperation was crowned by the program of modernization and industrial development in Syria, which was launched in May 2007 under the auspices of UNIDO and funded by the Italian government.

"The program has developed a comprehensive strategy to modernize the Syrian industry in all its sectors and supporting institutions. The textile and clothing sector was selected as the beginning of the process of modernization because of the importance of this sector of the economy, industry and citizens in Syria and mapping out a strategy, especially for the development of this sector and to establish necessary supporting institutions, developing  existing ones and to modernize and develop 36 small and medium enterprises, including three public companies as a pilot model of modernization and industrial development," the minister said.

"The Syrian government allocated 1.5 million Euros to finance the second phase of this program after the apology of the Italian government for funding, which reflects the confidence of the Syrian government in the organization and affirms its commitment to cooperation with and the belief in its distinguished capabilities in the field of development and modernization," the minister added.

He noted to the presence of several cooperation projects with the organization especially in the axis of agricultural industrialization in the Ghab area amid Syria (Agroboles), which is being implemented in cooperation with the Food and Agriculture Organization and the United Nations Development Program in Damascus and six Syrian ministries. The  agricultural industrialization includes the establishment of industrial zones and supporting institutions specialized in this area in addition to start a cluster gathering of dairy processing and update the number of small businesses currently operating in the agro-processing.

The minister confirmed that Syria has lived for about three years a difficult situation socially, economically and politically and the Syrian leadership has dealt with this situation positively through the issuance of the necessary legislations that meet the needs of society emerging in line with the requirements of sustainable development, stressing that the Syrian government exerted distinct efforts in order to address the negative consequences of this situation and make it to a minimum as it continues to pay the salaries of the workers of the companies that have stopped production.

Sh. Kh.

Syria Inks Offshore Oil and Gas Drilling Deal with Russian Company

After several months of negotiations, Petroleum and Mineral Resources Ministry signed on Wednesday an offshore oil and gas drilling contract with the Russian 'Soyuzneftegas' company.  

The 'Amrit' contract provides for carrying out surveys for oil and gas drilling in a total area of 2190 square kilometers stretching from south Tartous shore to Banias city.

The Russian side will cover the expenses of the stages of the works which are estimated at $90 million, according to the contract which contains a package of advantages related to training the Syrian cadres through allocating annual sums as non-refundable outlays for this purpose.

The contract clarified that at least one exploration well will be dug and the Russian company will carry out development and production works if drilling is successful.

The company is to start the work immediately after ratifying the contract and publishing it in the state-run newspapers.

 'A big challenge'  

The official news agency quoted Minister of Petroleum and Mineral resources Eng. Suleiman al-Abbas as saying: "The final formula of the contract was reached  following several months of negotiations between the General Petroleum Company and the Russian one. We are sure that the Russian company will use cutting edge technology in oil industry and it will adopt policies that preserve safety as the site of work is near cities and tourist establishments."

"The contract comes within the fruitful cooperation between the Russian companies and the national petroleum ones for the common interest of the friendly peoples of the two countries" the minister added.

He asserted that the contract is a big challenge due to the current circumstances in Syria. "It [the contract] will encourage companies in the friendly countries, especially in Russia, to come to Syria to carry out investments and oil and gas drilling," al-Abbas added.

He cited that all the Russian companies working in the field of oil and gas in Syria have not stopped their works despite the circumstances the country is going through.

Syria's oil production has reportedly slipped from 386.000 barrels per day to just 15.000 in the past 26 months because of international decisions, the seizure of most oil fields by gunmen and the acts of vandalism as well as opening the Turkish markets for the stolen oil.

The country's oil sector has been targeted as its revenues provide around a quarter of the funds of the national economy.


Basma Qaddour

National Project to Convert to Modern Irrigation

DAMASCUS, (ST) -The national project of modern irrigation aims to convert 2.1 million hectares of agricultural land irrigated by traditional methods to modern irrigation methods in order to preserve water resources and to raise the efficiency of irrigation in terms of water consumption by 35-50 percent as well as to reduce costs and increase productivity.

 The Fund Manager of Modern Irrigation at the Ministry of Agriculture and Agrarian Reform, Samir Odeh,said that the total area approved for the year 2014 is 57 246 hectares of which 37209 hectares of sprinkle irrigation and 20036 hectares of drip irrigation , pointing out that the number of beneficiaries of the Fund's irrigation  services since the launch of the project in 2007, reached to 9588, an amount of4,383 billion Syrian Pounds until 26 last December.

"Modern irrigation techniques lead to save large amounts of water that will help to expand the horizontal expansion in the  irrigated area and reduce the amount of lost water and its uses in agricultural activities in order to preserve the irrigated area and reduce dependence on rain-fed agriculture in order to increase the yield and ensure the stability of the rural population and improve their standard of living," Mr. Odeh said .

 The Fund assumes the task of financing equipment and expenses of the transition to modern irrigation in the framework of the national project to convert the land , referring to the provision of facilities to farmers by giving loans long-term loan interest rate of 4 percent for a period of twenty years, that will be paid annual installments.

The Fund Manager stresses the importance to rationalize consumption of water resources and work to develop and maintain sources of water and spread the culture of the modern trend for modern irrigation by agricultural guidance units and the media because of its benefits to farmers.

 The project is of a national importance the fact that the agricultural sector is one of the most important elements of the national economy, which started work in modern irrigation fund in 2007.

 Sh. Kh.

Agriculture, Industry Ministries sign Memo to Promote Organic Farming

DAMASCUS, (ST)- The Ministry of Agriculture and Agrarian Reform with the Ministry of Industry recently signed two memorandums of understanding aimed at promoting organic agriculture in accordance with the international standards and requirements as reflected on raising the income of farmers and organic producers and provide the needs of the productive sector of support services in the field of quality.

The Minister of Agriculture, Ahmed Qadri, confirmed the importance of these memos for the advancement of the agricultural sector and its development in order to reduce production costs,finding qualified potentials for staff of the directorate of organic production, improving their performance and gaininga product in accordance with the international standards, which enhances the competitiveness of organic Syrian products, encouraging the production of natural and healthy organic products, improving the prospects for productive investments and marketing for organic products with different sectors which increases the chances of the development of agricultural exports in world markets.

The minister pointed out that the ministry's plan includes planting 33,000 hectares of organic cultivation, which has a great demand in foreign markets and to opening centers for inspection, monitoring and giving certifications of this product and rewarding  prices of such organic plants.

For his part, the Minister of Industry, Kamal Eddine Tomah, explained that agricultural industries are geared to the industrial sector and to support food security, which the Ministry of Agriculture is seeking to ensure for all citizens, stressing that the national program to support the infrastructure of quality in Syria which is one of the most important projects approved by the Syrian government to raise the efficiency of economic performance and development of the competitive level of the Syrianproductive sectors.


The minister pointed out that the goal is to achieve a high specification product according to international requirements and supplied with certificates be accepted at the Arab and international levels to raise the level of the competitiveness of the Syrian economy with its various sectors to ensure the security and safety of the Syrianconsumer.

The first memo included the availability of information and the exchange of the necessary ones between the bureau of organic production and the Syrian center for accreditation services for the licensing of certification bodies, identifying the personnel required for rehabilitation in the areas of specifications and certification of products.

The second memo included providing the basic necessities for the organization of the organic sector between the bureau of organic production and the national program to support quality infrastructure, including the licensing of donors for certification systems and individuals, identifying the specifications and technical standards required for the sector of organic production, cooperation in the preparation of the national policy for the organic production and rehabilitation the cadres organic production bureau and to disseminate the culture of quality and its concepts and their application to the staff working in the directorate and the fundamentals of their commitment to achieving quality.

Sh. Kh.

State Budget Allocations for 2014 Specified at (SYP) 1390 billion

DAMASCUS- President Bashar al-Assad on Wednesday, issued Law No. 25 for 2013, specifying the general state budget's allocations for the fiscal year of 2014 at a total amount of (SYP) 1390 billion.

According to the law the general budgets of public institutions with economic and construction activities are issued under a decision made by the Finance Minister.

The law includes several items, one of which says that the allocations for the state's contribution to social support are disbursed to the Agricultural Production Support Fund, to the Social Subsidies National Fund, to the General Establishment for Ginning and Marketing Cotton and to food supplies by a decision from the Finance minister and at payment orders issued by concerned ministers.

H. Mustafa