Syria: Politicians exchange accusations over false economic growth figures

Published July 24th, 2011 - 06:49 GMT

The situation in Syria has recently worsened to the extent that senior figures in the government are exchanging accusations about who is responsible for the state of lawlessness in the country and the deterioration of the status quo.

Vice President, Farouk al-Sharaa began releasing the government’s dirty laundry when he accused former Prime Minister, Mohammad Naji al-Otari, of “manipulating the growth rates”.

Al-Sharaa clarified that “growth data and the percentage was manipulated by the previous government”, and that “growth data and its rates were introduced in a manipulated way by the previous government, who said it was at 6-7%, while according to experts it did not exceed 3.5%”.

Al-Otari criticized Al-Sharaa’s statements saying, “the 3.5% percentage that the Vice President talked about was according to “experts” and according to the Union Workers was 3.7% as an average of the last five years, while the true percentage that was released after the departure of the previous government and approved by the Central Bureau of Statistics was 4.9%, which is close to what the government had initially approximated (that the rate was estimated to be slightly more than 5%) before the Central Bureau of Statistics issued its final statistics.”

Al-Otari denies that the former government made “any intervention or pressure on the Central Bureau of Statistics, which issues figures independent of the government. Furthermore, the government uses the numbers to establish the number of building plans and an analysis from the Planning Commission revealed the same results. The Chairman of the Central Bureau of Statistics and the Chairman of the Planning Commission are still at the head of their organizations under the current government “.

Al-Otari said the facts confirm the authenticity of the growth numbers. The gross domestic product increased from $20 billion dollars in 2003 to $60 billion dollars in 2010, tripling. Exports increased from $4.5 billion dollars to $14 billion dollars. Minimum wage also increased from 3,400 liras to about ten thousands. Inflation did not exceed 4.4% and unemployment did not exceed 8.9%, which confirms the growth numbers were logical even if they weren’t realized.”

President Bashar al-Assad accepted Muhammad Naji al-Otari’s resignation last April.


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