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Investments flee Syria as people's hardship grows harsher

English.news.cn   2012-12-10 05:40:05            

DAMASCUS, Dec. 9 (Xinhua) -- Syrians' living conditions are getting worse on a daily basis as the country's diversified economy is sputtering and domestic and foreign investments are fleeing the conflict-ravaged country.

The local website al-Eqtisadi, the Arabic for Economist, said Sunday that the Kuwaiti-based shareholding al-Khurafi National has ended its works in Syria.

Al-Khurafi had led an alliance with the Kuwait-Syrian Holding Company, the Kuwait Company for Privatization Projects and the Cham Holding to pump investments in Syria worth 2 billion U.S. dollars distributed in the sectors of electricity and desalinate water and sanitation.

This has coincided with another media reports revealing that some 50,000 Syrian businessmen and investors have fled the country and started their own business outside, mainly in Egypt and Lebanon.

The reports said the Syrian investments in Egypt alone have amounted to 500 billion U.S. dollars.

Recent figures issued by the Syrian Investment Body showed a significant drop in the number of existing projects in Syria by 74 percent, compared to the same period before the eruption of the crisis owing to the raging violence in Syria and the worldwide economic sanctions imposed on all sectors.

The prolonged crisis in the country has prompted thousands of Syrians to flee seeking safe haven at neighboring countries.

The crisis has cast a dim shadow on all kinds of business in the country. Inflation has hit the record and reportedly reached 50 percent last month.

The Syrian currency also plunged and all attempts by the Central Bank of Syria to bring back the pound's value to normal level have been of no avail. The Syrian pound is now trading at 90 for one U.S. dollar in the black market, up from 70 one month ago.

The depreciation of the Syrian pound has weakened the pound's purchasing value and the prices of all commodities have soared.

The country is also suffering from a fuel crisis and it has become extremely hard for the government to meet the people's need of oil derivation, mainly the diesel, which the Syrians use for heating. The diesel shortage has forced many factories to shut down. Also there is currently a shortage in bread as some bakeries have closed because of the lack of diesel.

Syrians also complain of long hours of electricity outage especially at the cold days of winter. In Damascus, the capital, the electricity rationing has been raised to more than six hours a day.

The government has said that armed terrorist groups have frequently attacked power stations causing damages to high-tension lines.

The Syrian cabinet has principally approved a request by Syrian industrials to move their businesses and establishments to safer areas in the country, to encourage businessmen to go on and stimulate economic conditions.

There are now mounting calls to nudge up exports to enhance the performance of the sluggish Syrian economy and bring in hard currency.

Eihab Esmander, general manager of the body of exports' development and promotion, told local media that the importance of exports should not be underestimated in spite of the crisis conditions "because we are in an urgent need of foreign exchange and exports are the sole way to discharge products and help create jobs for the Syrian labor forces."

He stressed that exports must not stop no matter how tough the circumstances might be, stressing that the country should look for new markets.

Editor: Bi Mingxin
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