Official Syrian sources estimate the cumulative budget of the local banking sector at SP 679.9 billion, of which SP 275.9 billion is in foreign currencies. According to Al-Hayat newspaper, the total value of banking commissions hit SP 24 billion starting from the beginning of the nineties and through last year. The banking, insurance and real estate sectors contribute only four percent of the Syrian GDP based on the fixed prices of 1997.
The Syrian government has been implementing steps to encourage economic openness toward the rest of the world. The monetary, legislative and constitutional committees of the Syrian parliament are currently evaluating two new law proposals, with one calling for the opening of commercial banks and the other to establish a stock exchange in the country. Both proposals are facing strong opposition by those members who feel that such banks and stock exchanges would bring on the embezzlement of public funds. –(Albawaba-MEBG)
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