Assad cautiously steps towards economic reform in Syria
Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad’s gradual economic reform program has taken on renewed vigor this week with the coming into force of several decrees, effectively easing state control over the country’s stagnated economy.
Relaxing the Syrian law on foreign currency transactions, decree 33 for the year 2003 annulled two earlier decrees that mandated up to five-year prison terms for those dealing in foreign currency on the black market or taking Syrian pounds out of the country, reported the official Syrian Arab news Agency (SANA).
In a bid to facilitate private banks’ future operations in the country, the new forex law makes the transfer of foreign currency abroad or the export of Syrian pounds only punishable by a fine. The decree in effect terminates the function of Economic Courts.
The new decree stipulates that the exchange of Syrian and foreign currencies and payment in foreign currencies and valuable metals is to be carried out in accordance with further government regulations to be issued in a later date, SANA said.
The Syrian government’s economic liberalization program has recently opened the door for foreign banks to start operating in the Syrian market of 17 million. Nonetheless market experts assert that such efforts to liberalize the national economy will remain limited as long as the government loosens it hold of massive state-run assets. — (menareport.com)
© 2003 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)