However, planned spending is again forecast to increase by 2.3 per cent, to £Syr 460,000 million ($8,834 million).

Reading the government’s financial statement to parliament, Finance Minister Mohammed al-Hussain said: ‘Continuing to improve citizens’ living standards, providing them with essential needs and preventing monopoly as well as interior market imbalances are the main lines of government policy.’

The draft budget has been passed to the accounts and budget committee and is due for ratification in December.