Parliament has approved a 2002 budget that projects expenditure of£Syr 356,400 million ($6,828 million), up 10 per cent on spending budgeted for this year, official newspapers reported on 30 November. Details of projected revenues were not released, but officials said that they would be roughly equal to expenditure and would include an unspecified amount of foreign borrowing.
Some £Syr 184,000 million ($3,525 million) has been set aside for investment, marking a 14 per cent rise on the allocation for this year. Government investment is expected to be focused on the development of transport and communications infrastructure, and the upgrade of water and electricity distribution networks. A further £Syr 131,900 million ($2,527 million) has been allocated for public sector spending and £Syr 40,500 million ($776 million) has been set aside to service debt, the majority of which consists of credits from former Soviet bloc states.
The budget announcement follows the launch in late November of a five-year reform programme. The economic plan is primarily aimed at job creation and administrative reform, and anticipates real gross domestic product (GDP) growth of 3 per cent a year over the next three years.
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