Syria’s budget law was formally issued on 23 December 2012 by President Bashar al-Asad, with total expenditure projected at S£1,383bn ($17.96bn), up 4.3% from the 2012 budget. The law did not disclose a figure for the deficit, which was previously estimated at S£749bn ($9.73bn), more than double the 2012 deficit of S£335bn ($4.35bn). When the government first approved the draft budget last October, Syrian Minister of Finance Muhammad Juleilati said that state revenue is expected to fall steeply because of the ongoing political turmoil in the country. He added that state revenue was to be generated from domestic sources (MEES, 2 November 2012).

During the budget debate in parliament, some deputies expressed strong reservations about the steep rise in the deficit, prompting Mr Juleilati to respond that the structural deficit needed to be corrected by either raising revenue or rationalizing expenditure. Some unconfirmed reports have even suggested the government may resort to printing money to finance its large deficit. (CONTINUED - 370 WORDS)