Syria is losing close to four billion dollars annually to fiscal fraud, representing nearly half of the Arab state’s $8.4 million national budget for 2003, said the Minister of Finance.
"Fiscal fraud amounts to nearly 200 billion pounds (four billion dollars)," said Syria’s Finance Minister, Mohammad Al-Hussein. He said that his ministry's objective was to "raise state revenues" and improve conditions for the people of Syria, reported AFP.
In light of the changed situation in the Middle East since the US invasion of neighboring Iraq, members of the Syrian parliament have voiced mounting demands to speed up reforms, especially of the administration and of the centralized socialist-leaning economy.
Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad announced in early August that a new government would soon be formed to accelerate political and economic reforms. In September, he accepted the resignation of Prime Minister Mustafa Miro and the appointment of Parliament Speaker Naji Al-Otari as his successor. The new prime minister is expected to push for a reform agenda announced by Assad when he assumed power in 2000. — (menareport.com)
© 2003 Mena Report (www.menareport.com )