The budget deficit will rise more than twofold to S£749bn from S£335bn in 2012. But this comparison in budget numbers does not take into account the depreciation in the value of the Syrian pound which has lost about half its value (from $1=S£47 in March 2011 to $1=S£69.6 currently) as a result of the ongoing civil war. The depreciation of the pound on the free market is still higher, thereby making the dollar equivalent of the budget projection even lower.

Announcing details of the draft budget, Finance Minister Muhammad Juleilati said that on the expenditure side spending on salaries is projected to rise by 13% to S£236bn, while subsidies on food, fuel and power, as well as for the agricultural sector will rise by 33% to S£512bn. (CONTINUED - 737 WORDS)