Prime Minister Wael al-Halaqi on Sunday briefed the People’s Assembly on the government’s efforts to alleviate the repercussions of the crisis in Syria and providing citizens’ needs during the closing meeting of the 8th regular session of the first legislative term. In a speech at the beginning of the session, Speaker Mohammad Jihad al-Laham stressed the need to stay in touch with citizens and their concerns and provide their needs, especially in light of the unprecedented waged on Syria by states and terrorist organizations.
The Speaker called for increasing efforts to carry out reconciliations and expand them in order to restore normal life and unity in the country. He also congratulated the people of Syria and the Arab world on occasion of Christmas and the Birth of the Prophet holidays.
Addressing the Assembly, Premier al-Halaqi asserted that combating terrorism is the number one priority for the government which is working on setting up a protection system to target the segments of society that are hardest hit by the terrorist war waged against the country.
Al-Halaqi stressed that the government’s focus in the coming period will be to provide practical and appropriate solutions to the problems facing the makeshift centers hosting families who have been displaced from their home areas or provinces to flee the terrorists’ acts.
An estimated SYP 12.8 billion have been dispersed in implementation and rehabilitation of projects within the recovery plan set for provinces to target terrorism-affected infrastructure and facilities, the Premier said. He added that an amount of SYP 13.1 billion has also been allocated to compensate for private property damage and loss in the provinces.
In the SYP 1.554 billion state’s budget for 2015, approved late November, SYP 50 billion has been allocated for reconstruction, infrastructure rehabilitation and compensation for loss. In its keenness to improve the citizens’ living conditions under the harsh economic sanctions, al-Halaqi said, the government will continue efforts to secure basic needs, subsidize commodities, provide services and support locally-made products and exports.
He also said the government will continue to support national reconciliations, and will pursue administrative reform and development, in addition to its commitment to combating corruption, bolstering the role of civil society and NGOs, and enhancing economic ties with friendly countries.
Discussions during the session focused on providing citizens’ needs and ensuring the availability of the services they need, in addition to caring for the families of martyrs, supporting the people of Aleppo, addressing domestic economic issues such as market prices and salaries, ensuring the availability of fuel, and providing job opportunities.
Responding to the members’ queries, Premier al-Halaqi asserted that there is no shortage of bread and flour, and that the government is working to procure pharmaceuticals needed by the local markets, noting that recent shortages of fuel were caused by the irregular arrival of tankers to Syrian harbors, adding that disruptions in providing fuel to power stations one of the reasons for the increased hours of power rationing, with the other reason being the recurring terrorist attacks.
The Premier said that over one million food packages have been delivered to Aleppo province within the past few months, and that the Social Affairs Ministry is keeping up with the issue of relief work diligently. During the session, the Assembly referred a bill on allocating 50% of state job vacancies to relatives of martyrs and a bill on terminating a contract for establishing a communications devices company in partnership with Iraq to the proper committees for study.