Syria raises wages by 25 percent over high prices

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad issued a decree on Saturday increasing public sector salaries by 25 percent to compensate for rising prices, state-run SANA news agency reported.

Syria raises wages by 25 percent over high prices
Assad also ordered a 25 percent increase for retired state employees, the agency said.

It quoted Finance Minister Mohammed al-Hussein as saying that more than two million of the 15-million population will be affected by the monthly wage increases which will be effective from May.

Syria's state employees earn an average monthly salary equivalent to 175 dollars.

Assad's decision to increase salaries came as witnesses reported the price of heating oil had climbed by 340 percent per litre on Saturday.

Over the past week the price of foodstuff including vegetables, meat, milk, cereals and cooking oil has risen by 30-60 percent, prompting the government to stop the import of certain cereals including lentils and bulgar wheat.

But cabinet ministers have repeatedly stressed that the cost of bread will not be increased.

Analysts have recently blamed the government's reform drive for the high prices while officials have linked the problem to external factors, including the surge in oil on international markets.

According to unofficial estimates, inflation last year ran at more than 14 percent.

Price rises have triggered strikes and food rioting in some regional countries, including Egypt where President Hosni Mubarak has vowed to raise public sector salaries by 30 percent in 2008

Last Mod: 04 Mayıs 2008, 12:31
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