Conference urges to further liberalize Syrian economy
Speakers at the first investment conference ever to be held in Syria have called on the government to open its economy to world market forces, and that is just what is about to take place, according to Mohammed Imadi, the Syrian economy and foreign trade minister.
Syria's private sector will be permitted to penetrate sectors it previously had been kept out of, he said. Furthermore, laws that have served as obstacles to foreign trade will be changed so that Syria will be able to meet the requirements for joining both the Arab and European economic blocs.
The two-day conference, held in the Syrian capital, was attended by 1,000 participants from more than 15 countries. Present at the conference was Jassem Mani, the head of the Arab Monetary Fund. He called on all Arab governments to overhaul their bureaucratic structures, to make their more efficient and attractive to the foreign investment community.
Also required, he said, are bold moves to rid the states of their business holdings. “The make-up of state-run firms should be shaken up through bold and indivisible privatization procedures that are not confined to plugging the fiscal deficit,” he said, quoted in Lebanon's Daily Star..
Other speakers called for the development of a more liberal banking sector. Henry Azzam, an economist at the Middle East Capital Group, urged the Syrian government to introduce online banking, noting that by next year 80 percent of banking services in the United States will be available online. — (Albawaba-MEBG)
© 2000 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)