Government Discusses Mechanism to Protect Oil and Gas Facilities against Terrorism

DAMASCUS, (ST) - The Cabinet yesterday convened to discuss the situation of oil and gas production and the government's procedures to protect oil facilities from the attacks of the foreign-backed armed terrorist groups.

During the session, which was chaired by Prime Minister Wael al-Halqi, Minister of Oil and Mineral Resources Suleiman Abbas stressed that terrorists' attacks on the infrastructure, equipment and pipelines of the oil and gas sectors have disrupted refineries, reduced production and caused difficulties in meeting development, industrial, services and social needs for oil and its derivates, an affair that directly and negatively affected the national economy and the public interest.

The minister said oil derivatives convoys have been the target of armed attacks, pointing out that the measures taken by the ministry to protect the oil facilities haven't achieved the hoped-for goal, an affair that necessitated reconsidering the current mechanism and adopting more effective protection measures.

The ministry proposed a protection mechanism in the light of which the cabinet agreed on signing contracts for protecting oil facilities, crud oil pipelines and oil derivatives convoys.  It also agreed on forming a ministerial committee to restudy the contracts forms in a way that guarantees the rights of the state. In parallel, the cabinet agreed on establishing a public government commission to protect oil facilities.               

 H.M

Only Tax Payers Feel It

The Syrian leadership has recently issued some decrees exempting tax payers from all the fines and fees they had to pay in 2011 and 2012 for delaying tax payment, if they pay their due taxes before June 30, 2013.

It is one of the many other important steps taken by the Syrian leadership to ease the pressure caused to economic activities, because of the ongoing crisis in the country.

Only economic activities and self-employed people, who couldn't pay their due financial obligations to the state because of the critical circumstances in Syria, will realize and evaluate the importance of this step.

Delaying payments or the act of not paying taxes has accumulated more fees and fines and caused remarkable retreat in tax revenues without any arrangements or caution measures.

This situation affirms the need to tackle the problem so as to guarantee the right of the state and, at the same time, help owners of economic and services activities pay their due financial obligations without hesitation or extra costs under the uncomfortable and extraordinary circumstances the entire homeland is experiencing.

The timing of issuing these decrees is very suitable, as they restore the right of the state treasury and encourage owners of economic and craft activities to pay the state the due taxes and customs on time. This will in turn be reflected positively on their lives through the services rendered by the state to them and to other citizens and will also contribute to reconstructing the infrastructure necessary for public and private utilities. Thus, what tax payers give reflects positively on their conditions and it is for their good.

 

Ahmad Orabi Baaj

 

Translated by H. Mustafa      

 

ACSAD in Cooperation with Agriculture Ministry Implement Projects

DAMASCUS, (ST) - The Arab Center for the Studies of Arid Zones and Dry Areas ( ACSAD) in cooperation with the Ministry of Agriculture carry out several agricultural projects in Syria.

Some projects achieved real strides in implementation and some faced difficulties and obstacles result in terrorist armed groups that led to the delay of some stages in implementation. The projects work on alleviating rural poverty and drought in the governorates of Deir Ezzor, Idlib and Raqqa.

The projects work to improve the level of targeted families living through the implementation of activities that would support income in the domains of livestock, agriculture, provide models for supporting activities for the sustainability of animal production projects and marketing animal products, according to a recent report issued by ACSAD.

" The results of the field survey, targeted some villages in Raqqa, Hasaka and Deir al-Zour to a questionnaire about the condition of breeders and farmers in the region hit by drought in recent years, emphasizes the need to provide technical support in the areas of breeding sheep and goats in terms of herd management, fattening and training of technicals in the region, the establishment of units to chop agricultural residues and waste of food industry and its treatment to improve the food value, preparing it for marketing as fodder, making a suitable feed plan for sheep flocks using agricultural residues, creating units to pasteurize milk and improve methods of marketing milk from grazing areas to the cities and the application of suitable health care systems for roaming herds and implementing training courses for veterinary cadres in the region" the report clarified.

The report confirms that the project helped creating job opportunities for local people to enable them to cover their daily needs, reducing migration and giving examples of pioneering   projects to help the sustainability of livestock production in the region.

The report indicates that the center of ACSAD began in 2011 implementing an evaluation project and the election of new varieties of palms and identifying strains of  palm seeds with good quality in Syria, Egypt and Saudi Arabia expected to be completed in 2014, where the project aims to choose and classify the distinct breeds and setting up hereditary complexes to make an evaluation of distinguished seeds.


Experts working in the project  expect to get new varieties of palm, propagation of these sorts, spreading its cultivation, setting up genetic complexes to carry out studies and experiments.

ACSAD  has operated since 2007 on a project to use artificial insemination and embryo transfer for the development of Arabian horses in Syria, which is scheduled to be completed in 2016 in order to develop educational programs to maintain genetic  unique traits to Arab horses, especially the Syrian , in addition to the training and developing of technical personnel in the areas of transport and use of modern technologies in the horse breeding and care.


The report shows that the project of using of salt and brackish water in agriculture, which is implemented in the ACSAD Station for Research in Deir ez-Zor, since the founding of the center, is still standing, explaining that the project is working on the study of the potential impacts from the use of non-conventional water in irrigation on soil and plant and study the cumulative effect of salts on soil, vegetation and finding a new and traditional supporter of water.

ACSAD also performs a project on the use of treated water in the afforestation in cooperation with the Ministry of Agriculture, which is scheduled for completion next year to study the possibility of using treated water in the afforestation to reduce the depletion of fresh water to irrigate plants and finding  an alternative water resource for this purpose and ensure fresh water  for the purposes of household and the preservation of the environment and reduce climate impacts.

 ACSAD also in cooperation with the International Institute for Plant Nutrition implements a project to study the impact of overlap between the major elements of fertilizers in feeding crops in Deir al-Zour , al Ghab Plain and Izraa.

The project  started in 2009 and ends 2015 in order to study the effect of the mutual act between fertilization at different levels in the production of wheat, maize in quality and quantity, improve the fertility of soil, the rational use of fertilizers to reach the best economic production and reducing of environmental pollution.

The report reveals that the workers on the project used the nutrients elements fertilizers in a balanced way  at different levels to maintain the fertility of soil and  increase productivity.  The workers on the project expected for response to wheat produced in the Arab Center for mutual reaction between the used mineral fertilizers that leads to the increase in production.

Sh. KH

Value of Livestock Production in Syria Reaches 55%

Technical Advisor of the Federation of Syrian Chambers of Agriculture, Eng. Abdul Rahman Qrunfleh, clarified that the contribution of livestock production of the total value of Syrian agricultural production, had witnessed a dramatic decline in the recent years, where the ratio fell from 38.2 in 2008 to 37.1 in 2009 and to about 35.7 in 2010 to settle at ratio of 34.1 in 2011.

 "The actual value of animal production is bigger than the mentioned statistical figures and demonstrates the economic weight of this sector in the structure of national economy, where the ratio of contribution of the livestock production value in agricultural production reaches 55% if we take into account the value of the non- cash contributions for livestock in the agricultural production, where we can get  thousands of tons of organic, various resources of energy as traction energy, transport, energy, and biogas energy, as well as the role of animals being played in combating harmful weed, reducing the costs of forest fires due to grazing grasses that grow under the trees which constitutes the most important factor of forest fires in the summer," Qrunfleh added.

 

On the other hand, statistics ignore that the livestock production sector provides in creating  job opportunities in the industrial and  production beside the role of animals in supplying us with meat, milk and eggs .

 

"The Syrian livestock could constitute a sustainable resource of foreign exchange for the country and a key lever to the Syrian whereas the deterioration of the contribution ratio of the livestock production in recent years reflects a blurred vision in dealing with this wealth that provides animal products in the local markets and provides a part of  them for export in addition to the supply of industrial sector with requirements of production," eng. Qrunfleh confirmed.

Eng. Qrunfleh called to pay more attention to livestock breeders who work under harsh conditions.

He also stressed the need to reconsider priorities of the  agricultural production and the development of livestock in the forefront, to focus on improving the use of agricultural residues in animal feed to reduce the standing competition between the human and animal, integrate animal husbandry in the agricultural cycle, develop the agricultural guidance concerning the livestock, as well as encouraging the investment in the livestock  production remnants in generating biogas as a free source of energy, and developing the industries that rely on animal products such as eggs, milk,  animal waste and organic fertilizer.

Sh. Kh.

FSCA Stresses importance of Agricultural Trade

DAMASCUS, (ST) - Chairman of the Federation of Syrian Chambers of Agricultural (FSCA), Mohammad Kashto, called for creating an integrated  system of work for the development and promotion of the Syrian food and  agricultural exports and the work to establish a competent body to serve the foreign agricultural trade aiming at removing obstacles concerning Syrian agricultural products and opening new markets through monitoring  the markets around the world.

Mr. Kashto stressed the need to implement the trade agreements signed with countries which  allow their markets to absorb the Syrian agricultural commodities and in a way that  stimulates Syrian agricultural exports and secures the  access to larger markets, negotiation to create a partnership with the producers of organic agricultural products in the world,  the establishment of a strong base that encourages organic farming locally and benefit of this growing agriculture that supports job creation and promote foreign business.

"To develop and promote the trade of commodities, Syrian agricultural, forestry and fishing is considered an essential field, so it must be given a priority as a vital component of the food security and a key factor in creating jobs," he explained.

"The importance of the universities and scientific research centers should pay  more attention to graduate specialized technical staff in agricultural marketing to be  able to deal efficiently with modern scientific methods in the field of agricultural products trade and electronic commerce, " Mr.Kashto pointed out.

He also noted the role exerted by producers, industrialists and artisans working in the sector of  importing agricultural and food products, which contributed to ensure the food security of the country.

He expressed optimism about the reality of the Syrian agricultural and food trade, its exports and imports, explaining they are still "good, despite the exceptional circumstances that prevailed in the country," pointing out that the value of exchanging the annual agricultural commodities estimated at 6,290 billion dollars two years ago, 2,562 billion dollars, the value of the Syrian agricultural exports and  3,728 billion dollar, the value of the  Syrian agricultural imports, according to the World Food and Agriculture Organization, where food currently comprises the backbone of Syrian imports.

Sh. Kh