Syrian leadership calls for overhaul of state enterprises
Syria's Progressive National Front (PNF) coalition headed by the ruling Baath party called Saturday for state enterprises to be run in line with "economic norms," meaning they must be efficient.
This position was announced by the official SANA news agency at the end of a meeting of the central command of the FNP which includes the leaders of the parties in the coalition, is chaired by President Bashar al-Assad, and focuses on the economy.
The FNP, whose leadership meets normally to debate issues of key importance to Syria, "stressed the importance... of subjecting public sector enterprises to economic norms and uniting the bodies that oversee them," the agency said.
"The leadership underlined the importance of an economic overhaul of the bodies that make up the national economy, the need to mobilize savings at home and abroad, to increase the opportunities for investment and to stimulate growth," SANA said.
According to financial analyst Samir Seifan, public sector industries suffer in particular from "bureaucracy, hidden unemployment, rigid controls which weaken their flexibility and their competitiveness, and a lack of liquidity."
The public sector dominates whole sections of the economy, particularly the banks, which have been nationalized since 1963, and industry. State enterprises make up 68 percent of the Syria's net interior product, compared to 32 percent for the private sector, according to Seifan. — (AFP, Damascus)
© Agence France Presse 2000
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