Syria Reduces Duty on Cars
Syrian President Bashar Assad has authorized the purchase of new cars for both private and public use at a "reduced" import duty of 40 percent, reported the Lebanese Daily Star.
The decree aims to replace private cars manufactured during or before 1960, and public cars, taxis, buses and minibuses that were made during or before 1970, with newer models, said the paper.
The Baath Party has imposed a monopoly over car purchases with an inflated import duty since it came to power in 1963.
In the Syrian streets, it is not unfamiliar to see cars that date back to the 1930s that have been handed down from father to son, sometimes through three generations.
In fact, most of Syria's cars are 25 years or older.
According to the report, when cars broke down after 40 years of use, rather than spend more money on repair and further registration, their owners simply canceled their papers and abandoned their license plates.
Today, those owning private cars are faced with the choice of sticking to their old vehicles, while abiding with safety regulations and paying extra money for their registration papers, or handing them over to the state steel factory and purchasing new up-to-date automobiles at reduced taxes, said the Daily Star.
Owners of "public plate" vehicles, however, have no choice and are obliged to purchase new cars by the year 2003. Outdated automobiles are deemed too hazardous for passengers, drivers, and the environment – Albawaba.com
© 2001 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)