Assad Grants State Employees a 50% Bonus as Job Creation Lags

President Al-Asad has issued a decree granting a one-time 50 per cent bonus on government salaries. This is done in view of eid al-adha. The one time bonus equals syp 12.5 billion or $270 million, which equals about 0.49% of Syria’s GDP.

The 50-per cent bonus on monthly salaries and wages is to cover civilian and military public service workers inside and outside Syria. The bonus is exempt from income tax, and covers those working in joint sector companies in which the state has a 75-per cent share.

The program is thought to cost syp 12.5 billion. This is $270 million. Because this sum is 50% of the total government monthly salaries, we can assume that the total monthly salaries come to $540 million a month or $6.48 billion a year. This equals 11.6% of Syria’s $55 billion GDP.

Syria’s government employment roll is 1,072,000, according to Syria’s Statistical Abstract (2009). This figure excludes military and security forces, which are estimated at more than 300,000. Thus, the number of people employed by the government is close to 1.4 million, excluding pensioners.

[Addendum 11/15/]: Syria Steps reports some troubling news. The government admits to only having been able to create 39,000 jobs last year versus the 250,000-300,000 objective. The actual number of created jobs was only 16% of the target. If GDP or “real” growth of 8% was that target growth rate that was estimated to be able to create 250,000-300,00 jobs, one can conclude that growth was only 16% of the 8% target. This works out to be 1.25%, suggesting that real GDP growth was only slightly higher than 1%. This number supports the lower growth figures that Syria Steps reported on last week and which Syria Comment covered as well. Admittedly, these numbers are calculated in the crudest fashion possible. Unfortunately, we must resort to such inadequate techniques to verify the government figures, which are not always as transparent as we would like.

Ehsani calculates Syria’s average monthly government salary to be in the $270 range:

When the government raised heating-oil (Mazoot) prices back in 2008, it said in this Reuters article:

The increase, which will take effect this month, covers 2 million public workers and retirees, the state news agency said.

If there were 2 million public workers and retirees, then we get an average monthly salary of $270. (syp 12.5 billion is $270 million.) Since the bonus is 50% of the monthly salary cost, this means the monthly cost is double the bonus ($540 million). Dividing 540 million by 2 million workers and retirees, yields an average monthly salary of $270, or syp 12,500, which is exactly what I have argued it is all along.

To take it one step further, if you include the armed forces, which are estimated at 400,000, the 540 million would have to be divided by 2.4 million people. The average salary is $225 or SYP 10,400. We can conclude that the average Syrian government salary is i the range of $225 – $ 270 a month.

Pensions are at 70% of salaries, so if one tweaks the calculations appropriately, the monthly government salary is $270, or syp 12,487, which I am fairly confident is correct. $270 a month is $9 a day for a family. If the family is more than four members, it will fall below the UN poverty line of $2 a day.

[Thanks to Ehsani and Elie for these calculations.]

Read Marc Lynch’s excellent article on Lebanon’s Special Tribunal: The Zombie Tribunal for Lebanon

… anyone who has followed the investigation of Hariri’s murder over the last five years will remember being flooded with leaks, analysis and evidence which supposedly established the culpability of the Syrian regime with absolute certainty. We all read books, articles, op-eds, blog posts and official reports placing Syria’s responsibility beyond a reasonable doubt. And then suddenly “new information” — which most people in the region understood to be conveniently discovered in a new political climate — led the STL to stop pursuing the Syrians and shift to Hezbollah. The Arab media has not failed to notice.

What are we to make of its really quite shocking reversal? Why should we consider the evidence now pointing to Hezbollah credible given the seeming collapse of the supposedly iron-clad case against Syria? Most discussion of this fairly obvious point that I’ve seen in the Western media has been framed around Hezbollah’s “efforts to discredit the STL.” But the STL’s credibility problems seem a bit more real than that. If Hezbollah were really responsible than a strong case could be made for pursuing justice regardless of the consequences. But from the outside, it really does look an awful lot like the STL is being used as a political weapon against Hezbollah at a time of mounting fears of its power and of allegedly rising Iranian influence in Lebanon. …

U.N. Nuclear Chief Sets Sights on Syria

The head of the United Nations atomic watchdog said he is open to demanding intrusive new inspections of alleged Syrian nuclear sites, signaling a potential hardening of the international community’s position….

IAEA chief indicates the body is ‘reluctant’ to push for inspections in Syria over a possible nascent nuclear program (Haaretz)

The United States has suggested the IAEA could invoke its “special inspection” mechanism to give it the authority to look anywhere in Syria on short notice.

Asked in New York why the Vienna-based U.N. agency was reluctant to request a special inspection in Syria, IAEA Director-General Yukiya Amano said there was no longer a site to investigate.

“If the facility is there, it’s easy to go and look and confirm if it is a reactor or not,” he told reporters at the Council on Foreign Relations. “But the facility is gone.”

While Amano said he would be open to seeking a special inspection in the future, he said he had not strengthened his position on Syria and that, for now, the IAEA was focused on seeking cooperation with the Middle Eastern country.

“There is talk, there is cooperation. On Dair Alzour, not yet, but why don’t we hope?” Amano said. …. Diplomats and analysts believe the IAEA will refrain from escalating the dispute as tensions rise with Iran, which the West suspects of seeking nuclear weapons

llo Joshua:

Shana Marshall, a graduate student at Princeton who has written some excellent articles on the Syrian economy, writes:

The Syrian International Academy (SIA) was a cooperative endeavor between Al Jazeera’s training center (for journalists) and the Syrian PR Association. Apparently the folks at IWPR were using some of the students from the academy to write for them – which fell afoul of someone with at least some measure of authority – who closed down the SIA despite the presence of numerous big-wigs on the academy’s board of directors and within its general administration….

Syrian industry minister Fouad Al Jouni has said investors have been invited to help revamp the country’s under-performing industrial sector but privatisation is not on the table, Reuters has reported. “We have adopted this principle towards every public sector industrial company that needs to be modernised. We are ready to begin negotiations with any investor,” Jouni said. “But there is no sale of public industrial assets. Privatization is prohibited and workers rights cannot be compromised,” he added.

Bush: Olmert asked to me to strike Syria, but I refused
By JPOST.COM, 11/05/2010

Former US President George W. Bush has revealed that he considered ordering the US military to strike a suspected Syrian nuclear facility at Israel’s request in 2007, however in the end he opted against it.

In his memoir, “Decision Points,” which is due to be released on Tuesday, Bush says he received an intelligence report about a “suspicious, well-hidden facility in the eastern desert of Syria,” and then telephoned then Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to discuss what action to take.

Reports at the time suggested that Israel was behind the bombing that eventually destroyed the facility, which Syria denied was aimed at developing a nuclear weapons capability.

Bush writes that Olmert’s “execution of the strike” against the Syrian compound made up for the confidence he had lost in the Israelis during their 2006 war against Hezbollah in Lebanon, which Bush feels was bungled.                          
The government admits that ot was only able to create 39,000 versus the 
250,000-300,000 objective. The actual number was therefore only 16% of the 
target. If GDP "real" growth of 8% was thought to be enough to create the 
250,000-300,00 target, one can conclude that growth was only 16% of 8% which is 

Comments (10)

Norman said:

These patches that the Syrian government gives from time to time do not work , they did not work in the seventies when they started after the correction movement of Hafiz Assad and will not work now , what Syria need to do is to sit back and think about how to move the Syrian economy and have more jobs for people , i for one think that an infrastructure campaign that will have new roads , Railways that connect Turkey with Jordon and Iraq , connect Latakia with Iraq , airports in every major city , major seaport in Latakia and Tartose these transportation tools are needed for the new investors that Syria is looking for , we can not expect the investors to drive an old car from city to city , Syria as a transit hub can use the railways for cargo transport , we have good communication structure with cell phone systems but hard line system need to improve in addition to good fast Internet access , i wonder if a satellite Internet access in every town and village then town wide wireless connectivity ,

freeze on government employment except in personal services then increase the salaries of these employees and have a strong reporting system and prosecution for bribery conducted by local prosecutors , not Damascus ones but the local county ones like Homs , Hama , increasing the salary of these people before any crack down is essential as you can not ask people to go hungry because they can not get bribes , what Syria can do is increase the fees for these services which are done now free of charge but with bribes and the money that the government collects can be used to increase the salary of the civil workers ,

high level corruption can be stopped by mandating close bids contracts and opening any bids with the presence of a committee of at least 12 people that are not known to the bidders so they can not reach them , the results will be published in the official newspaper so can be challenged by other bidders in court ,

Some might say the the court system is not functional , the only way for the court system to improve is for people to use the System and the appeal process ,

One of the most important assets that Syria has is the young population that it has , they are more educated , computer savvy than the old population in other countries , one of the reason that the US is still prosperous is the young immigrants that come here while the EU and Japan are dying countries,

November 14th, 2010, 7:45 pm


Yazan said:

“كما تشمل المنحة أصحاب المعاشات التقاعدية من العسكريين والمدنيين المشمولين بأي من قوانين وأنظمة التقاعد والتأمين والمعاشات والتأمينات الاجتماعية النافذة بمن فيهم الخاضعون للمرسوم التشريعي رقم 48 لعام 1972 والقانون رقم 43 لعام 1980.” (Syria-News

Thanks for Ehsani and Elie, for doing all the math, but I’m afraid there’s a grave oversight in there. The calculations are not quite precise, because the 50% grant includes the pensioners (and their numbers are not to be underestimated), while the calculation of the average salary are done excluding this whole segment from the total number of employees. Which means that the average government salary is far far less than the given $386 a month (if calculated including the pensioners), but even when excluding them (and thus excluding their salaries from given total) the number would never reach the $300 mark (rough estimation on my side).

November 15th, 2010, 1:16 am


Badr said:

The one time bonus equals syp 12.5 billion or $270 million

What source is this number taken from?

November 15th, 2010, 6:17 am


Norman said:

المالية: صرف المنحة يوم الاثنين.. وحجمها الكلي 12.5 مليار ليرة الاخبار المحلية

أوضحت وزارة المالية أن صرف المنحة على العاملين في قطاعات الدولة, التي صدرت بمرسوم رئاسي, سيبدأ صباح الاثنين, مشيرة إلى أن الحجم الكلي لهذه المنحة يصل لحوالي 12.5 مليار ليرة سورية.

وأصدر الرئيس بشار الأسد يوم الأحد المرسوم التشريعي رقم 92 للعام 2010 القاضي بصرف منحة ولمرة واحدة بمعدل 50% من الرواتب والأجور الشهرية المقطوعة للعاملين في الدولة.

ونقلت وكالة الأنباء السورية (سانا) عن وزير المالية محمد الحسين قوله إن “صرف هذه المنحة قبل عيد الأضحى المبارك سيكون عاملا مساعدا للمواطنين في تأمين احتياجاتهم ويعني زيادة في القدرة الشرائية وزيادة الطلب على السلع والخدمات لكون الحجم الكلي لهذه المنحة يصل لحوالي 5ر12 مليار ليرة”.

وأوضح الحسين أن “وزارة المالية أبلغت جميع محاسبي الإدارة والجهات المعنية كافة لتحضير ما يلزم والبدء الفعلي لصرف هذه المنحة اعتبارا من صباح يوم الاثنين”, لافتا إلى أن “المنحة تأتي في إطار تنفيذ توجيهات الرئيس الأسد للحكومة للعمل المتواصل على تحسين الأوضاع المعيشية للإخوة المواطنين كلما توفرت الظروف المناسبة لذلك”.

ونصت الفقرة (أ) المرسوم التشريعي رقم 92 للعام 2010 الخاص بالمنحة على أن تصرف لمرة واحدة بمعدل 50% من الرواتب والأجور الشهرية المقطوعة لكل من العاملين المدنيين والعسكريين في الوزارات والإدارات والمؤسسات العامة وشركات ومنشآت القطاع العام والبلديات ووحدات الإدارة المحلية والعمل الشعبي والشركات والمنشآت المصادرة والمدارس الخاصة المستولى عليها استيلاء نهائيا وما في حكمها وسائر جهات القطاع العام, وكذلك جهات القطاع المشترك التي لا تقل مساهمة الدولة عن 75% من رأسمالها والمجندين في الجيش والقوات المسلحة والعاملين المحليين من العرب السوريين في البعثات السورية الخارجية.

ويدخل في شمول الفقرة أ المشاهرون والمياومون والدائمون والمؤقتون سواء أكانوا وكلاء أم عرضيين أم موسميين أم متعاقدين أم بعقود استخدام أم معينين بجداول تنقيط أو بالفاتورة أو بموجب صكوك إدارية وكذلك العاملون على أساس الدوام الجزئي أو على أساس الإنتاج أو الأجر الثابت والمتحول.

كما تشمل المنحة أصحاب المعاشات التقاعدية من العسكريين والمدنيين المشمولين بأي من قوانين وأنظمة التقاعد والتأمين والمعاشات والتأمينات الاجتماعية النافذة بمن فيهم الخاضعون للمرسوم التشريعي رقم 48 لعام 1972 والقانون رقم 43 لعام 1980.

ويستفيد من المنحة أيضاً أسر أصحاب المعاشات وتوزع على المستحقين وفق الأنصبة المحددة في القوانين والأنظمة الخاضعين لها.

وأوضح المرسوم أنه ينبغي ألا تزيد المنحة التي يتقاضاها أصحاب المعاشات التقاعدية ممن عملوا في غير الجهات العامة عن أعلى منحة يتقاضاها أصحاب المعاشات التقاعدية للذين كانوا عاملين في الدولة.

ولا يجوز لصاحب الراتب أو الأجر أو المعاش التقاعدي أو المستحقين عنه الجمع بين أكثر من راتب أو أجر أو معاش تقاعدي وتصرف المنحة عن الراتب أو الأجر أو المعاش التقاعدي الأعلى.

وتأتي هذه المنحة قبل عيد الأضحى المبارك، إذ غالباً ما تصدر مثل هذه المنح بالتزامن مع المناسبات بهدف سد حاجات المواطنين.

وكان الرئيس الأسد أصدر في شهر أيلول 2009 مرسوما يقضي بصرف منحة لمرة واحدة، بمعدل 40% من الرواتب والأجور الشهرية المقطوعة، وشمل المرسوم صرف المنحة لكل من العاملين المدنيين والعسكريين في الوزارات والإدارات والمؤسسات العامة وشركات ومنشآت القطاع العام, وبلغ الحجم الكلي للمنحة آنذاك حوالي 9 مليارات ليرة سورية.


موضوع ذو صلة:

الرئيس الأسد يصدر مرسوماً بصرف منحة 50

November 15th, 2010, 7:44 am


EHSANI2 said:


You are absolutely correct. Since it includes the armed forces and the retirees, the numbers are substantially different.

November 15th, 2010, 8:15 am


Brent said:

In response to Norman’s post, I think satellite internet access in every town would be a great idea. If the infrastructure is not already there I don’t think that wireless internet is going to be a feasible option. We are trying to solve similar problems here in the US, and I believe satellite internet is the best way for us to go as well. I actually have an entire blog about this at and would love for you to check it out.

November 15th, 2010, 12:48 pm


why-discuss said:

It is obviously to stimulate syrians to buy. I had a report that most Damascus shop owners are complaining there are no buyers, a very unusual situation just before the Eid.

November 15th, 2010, 5:13 pm


Souri said:

I am really shocked. If real GDP growth was just above 1%, then where did the IMF estimations come from?

This is the same growth rate of the Zu3bi period in the 1990’s. This is really frustrating. Following Syria’s news only gives you heart pain وجع قلب. There is never good news; not in politics, economy, society, sports, or anything. A Syrian person can only explode from frustration يطق من القهر.

November 15th, 2010, 6:02 pm


EHSANI2 said:


None of us really knows the true growth rate. Given the lack of data quality, we are left with no option but to speculate. Having said this, one ought to take all these number with a grain of salt (both high and low)

November 15th, 2010, 6:37 pm


Jad said:

Eid Moubarak to all!

November 16th, 2010, 10:51 am


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