Syria’s Parliament Okays Private Banks Bill
Syria's People’s Assembly took a unanimous decision on Thursday to pass a law allowing the establishment of private banks in the country for the first time in nearly four decades, reports said.
The law is part of economic reforms underway in the country since Syrian President Bashar al-Assad rose to power in July.
Officials told Reuters that the government would start immediately receiving applications from local and foreign banks and businessmen who are interested in establishing fully private or joint private-public banks in Syria.
The new law permits foreign participation in the private banks, which will be supervised by Syria's central bank.
The bill, which will come into effect once President Assad signs it, seeks to attract private investment to invigorate an economy that has been stagnant for 20 years.
Syrian officials have said that some 50 foreign banks, most of them from the Arab world, have expressed interest in entering the country's market.
Syria, which has 17 million residents, nationalized its banking sector in 1963 after the Baath party took power.
A decision to set up the banks with foreign capital was adopted by Cabinet in January.
Deputy Prime Minister for Economic Affairs Khaled Raad was quoted by he Associated Press as saying some 50 foreign banks are thought to be interested in setting up Syrian branches – Albawaba.com
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