Syrian Prime Minister Hussein Arnous announced an anticipated salary increase for public sector employees, amidst a wave of mass resignations caused by the depreciation of wages resulting from the collapse of the lira’s exchange rate against the dollar and high inflation.
During a meeting of the Baath Party in Aleppo, Arnous stated that the government is conducting a comprehensive study on salaries and wages, aiming to improve living conditions. According to the pro-regime newspaper Al-Watan, the study is nearing completion.
Zuhair Tinawi, a member of the budget and accounts cutting committee in the regime’s parliament, hinted that the salary increases would be substantial, without providing further details. Tinawi also mentioned that the government managed to generate revenue without resorting to energy price hikes.
However, Tinawi implied that these revenues are not sustainable and revealed that the government is currently seeking a reliable financial source for the increase. This has led to speculation that the government might secure funds from a Gulf state to cover the increase for an entire year, a widely circulated rumour in Syrian society.
The value of a public sector employee’s salary has plummeted to $15 due to the historic depreciation of the Syrian currency against the US dollar on the black market, with an exchange rate of 9,000 lira per dollar. Additionally, the inflation rate has soared by 104 percent between 2022 and 2023, according to data from the Statistics Center at the Ministry of Finance.
The most recent salary increase was approved by President Bashar al-Assad in mid-December 2021, through three legislative decrees that raised salaries, wages, and compensation for civil and military workers and pensioners by up to 30 percent.
As salaries continue to decline, there has been a surge in resignations across multiple governorates. Suwayda governorate witnessed 400 resignation applicants during the first four months of 2023, while Quneitra governorate had 300, predominantly from the education sector. In Latakia, there were 516 resignation requests.
The head of the General Federation of Trade Unions in Syria predicted that the public sector would experience a significant number of resignation requests, as employees search for alternative employment in the private sector or consider emigrating. He emphasized that one month’s salary is insufficient to cover even a day’s expenses.
This article was translated and edited by The Syrian Observer. The Syrian Observer has not verified the content of this story. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.