The year 2000 will be recorded as a recession year for the Syrian economy, stated the country’s oil minister, Matanios Habib, reported Al-Watan. While a proliferation of investment projects left the local markets flush with merchandise, a prolonged shortage of rainfall had impacted on Syria’s key agricultural sector, which in turn cast a shadow over the entire economy, the minister stated.
Habib was more optimistic regarding the economy’s prospects in 2001. The rise in oil prices over recent months has provided windfall revenue, which prevented a further deterioration in the growth rate. The minister stated his belief that the Syrian economy will make progress in 2001, and that it will be able to attract foreign investments, especially if oil prices remain high.
In order to create an environment in which the country’s economy would improve, Habib urged his colleagues in the government to streamline Syria’s administrative and bureaucratic regime. He also called for tax cuts and for a reassessment of the lending and credit policies. Habib recommended the setting up of a special judicial body that will decide on investment-related disputes. ¯ (Albawaba-MEBG)
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com )