Mihbek refutes Egyptian media reports on Syrian businessmen's investments in Egypt

DAMASCUS, (ST) - Minister of Economy and Foreign Trade Mohammad Zafer Mihbek has refuted Egyptian media reports on Syrian businessmen carrying out investments estimated at USD10 billions in Egypt, describing the reports as "absolutely incorrect".

In a statement to SANA on Saturday, Mihbek said exaggerating the value of investments comes within the framework of an Egyptian media campaign aiming at backing anti Syria attack led by the United States, the European Union and some Arab and regional countries in a desperate attempt by Syria's enemies to weaken the country's strong economy. This campaign also came to serve the deteriorating Egyptian economy.

The value of the Egyptian Pound has remarkably dropped and the USD purchase value upped to seven Pounds, which means that the Egyptian economy isn't attractive to investments neither by the Syrians and the non-Syrians.

The Minister stressed that the Syrian businessmen are loyal to their homeland and they keep contacting official parties and ask them about the possibility of their being able to return to the homeland as soon as possible.

"They keep stressing that their properties, real estates and facilities are still in Syria and they are ready to return home as soon as the crisis ends to reconstruct what the terrorists had destroyed.


H. Mustafa       

Supporting Crafts and Traditional Industries, a Necessity to Face Economic Challenges

The Sector of crafts and traditional industries plays a distinguished role in supporting the Syrian economy as it enjoys elements of success mainly the availability of markets and materials in addition to its steadfastness in the face of the economic crisis.

In its recent report under the title "Priorities of Economic Reform According to the Syrian Private Sector'', the Syrian Business Council (SBC) highlighted  the importance of the craft and the traditional industries in creating job opportunities in different  domains.

The Council called for supporting the crafts and traditional industries sector so as to face the current challenges and enhance the heritage and the cultural role of the Syrian tourism products.

Aiming at preserving the national traditional industries, the Council's report warned against displaying traditional industries products and souvenirs, imported from East Asia, in the Syrian archeological sites as well as heritage and crafts markets that are famous all over the world of displaying Syrian products such as the Damascene sword and mosaic pieces.

It demanded the transforming of the General Craftsmen Union into a supporting commission aiming at ensuring all necessary requirements to help craftsmen achieve more progress and at working out a strategy to develop the craft and traditional industries sector with the partnership of the ministries of culture, tourism, economy and foreign trade and local administration in addition to the General Craftsmen Union and civil society organizations.

Rawaa Ghanam

Economic committee tackles SP exchange rate

DAMASCUS,(ST)_The economic committee reviewed on Wednesday  exchange rate of the Syrian Pound against foreign currency .

The meeting chaired by Prime Minister, Dr. Wael al-Halqi, revolved around procedures of the SP exchange rate, stressing need to keep the exchange rate stable to back national economy, according to SANA.

In this context, Governor of the Central Bank of Syria (CBS), Dr. AdibMayaleh, said: "Citizens' imported requirements are being financed by banks at the price SP 79.9 to 1$ to preserve the products prices stable in local markets and to prevent importers and merchants from hiking prices of citizens' basic needs up.

The economic committee was recently formed to follow up economic situation plus financial and banking matters.

Basma Qaddour

PM speaks about sealed deals with Iran

DAMASCUS,(ST)_Prime Minister, Dr.Wael al-Halqi, has described the government's delegation's visit to Iran as 'important and fruitful' and boosts joint cooperation in all sectors.

In Tuesday-cabinet's meeting, al-Halqi cited significance of talks held with the Iranian officials who stressed Iran's support for the Syrian people's steadfastness and the political plan outlined by President Bashar al-Assad to resolve Syria crisis.

The PM called on ministers to adopt urgent procedures to translate the endorsed plan into ground, SANA reported.

As for local issues, the premier asked the ministers to prepare annual contracts for employing martyrs' families with the program of employing youths.

Moreover, the cabinet reviewed economic and services issues related to ensuring citizens' basic needs (fuel, power, and gas).

News conference

After the cabinet's meeting, al-Halqi told reporters that today's session focused on results of the government delegation's visit to Iran, adding: "Our relation with Iran is 'strategic and historic' and we seek to develop it in economic and services sectors."

Regarding results of the visit, the premier said that Syria and Iran have sealed deals in fields of services and power estimated at USD500mln. This amount is part of a USD 1bn-credit loan.

The two countries signed a deal to import qualitative medicines and medical equipment valued at USD 200 mln.

Other agreements were signed to set up five grinders in Syrian provinces, exporting Syrian products to Iran in exchange for Iranian products, and importing petroleum products, flour and potatoes from Iran to cover local needs.

Initially, Syria is to import 100.000 tons of flour.

The PM noted that Syria-Iran cooperation in financial and banking sector helps support Syrian economy and the Syrian Pound, noting that Iran is to put a deposit in the Central Bank of Syria to help in this field.

He underscored that the current reserves of foreign currency are good and that the deposit will have positive effects on local economy and the SP exchange rates.

Optimistically, al-Halqi said that Syria would surpass the crisis and the government would work tirelessly to back the Syrian people's steadfastness and the Syrian Arab Army that exerts every possible effort to restore stability and security across Syria.

"Government is serious in implementing the political plan to solve the crisis in Syria," the PM said.

He concluded: "We are open to all political forces including opposition inside and outside Syria and misled armed people if they abandon their arms and take part in dialogue to share in building new democratic Syria."


Printing Banknotes of "2000" Category is "Untrue Altogether"- Mayaleh

DAMASCUS,(ST)_ Governor of the Central Bank of Syria Dr. Adib Mayaleh  said that what has been debated by certain media about printing banknotes of  "2000" category is  "untrue altogether, and  is part of the war and conspiracy to undermine the Syrian economy , and weaken  citizen 's  confidence in  the Syrian pound ".

In a statement to SANA , today Mayaleh warned citizens from dealing  with these counterfeit currency  if found and  to inform the sides concerned on that,  indicating that the banknotes currently in circulation are of 50, 100, 200, 500 and 1000 pounds.

Mayaleh revealed that the Central Bank of Syria "will take  in the coming period the necessary measures to balance  exchange rate and reduce manipulation of the Syrian lira exchange rate in the black market," noting  that "the Syrian pound  is stable."
He  stressed that "the bank has all the tools necessary to maintain the exchange rate of the lira," noting "In this  context , agreements were signed with the Iranian side, during the past two days to provide line credit facility worth one billion dollars to finance the import of goods to Syria and investment projects."

T. Fateh