The Prime Minister in the Bashar al-Assad government, Hussein Arnous, denied the statements attributed to him months ago about working towards increasing the salaries of employees in Syria, in line with the increase in prices on the market.
During a session of the General Council of the Federation of Trade Unions (GFTU), on Monday, Arnous said that his statements about salary increases were distorted by the media, according to the official Al-Baath newspaper.
Arnous had said in statements attributed to him, last September, during a session of the People’s Assembly, that his government is considering raising wages and salaries according to certain brackets and according to the available resources, in addition to reviewing the income tax on salaries.
Arnous denied this, however, justifying the intention of his previous statements by the necessity of amending salaries first, so that they are determined according to each tranche, which is a process that necessitates time, noting that incentives are the “only open door to improving income” at the present time.
Arnous’ justification came, according to the newspaper, after interventions by GFTU members, who demanded the government be transparent and credible in the statements it issues, especially with regard to salaries.
Grant in lieu of a salary increase
The last salary increase in the regime-controlled areas took place in November 2019, when Assad issued two legislative decrees, the first stipulating an increase in the salaries and wages of civil and military workers by 20,000 Syrian pounds per month, and the second stipulating an increase in pensions for civilians and military personnel, at a rate of 16,000 pounds per month.
For months, the regime-controlled areas have been experiencing precarious living conditions, represented by high prices, as a result of the deterioration of the pound to record levels.
However, the Assad government has resorted to dispersing financial grants instead of raising wages, as the head of the regime issues, from time to time, legislative decrees to disburse a financial grant to civilians and military personnel working in his institutions.
The last financial grant was issued last March, which was about 50,000 pounds (equivalent to 11 dollars), for all civilians and military personnel in state departments, and 40,000 pounds for pensioners and their families. A similar grant preceded it last December, and another in October 2020.
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.