Syria to Blow Life into Damascus Stock Market after 40 Years

Published June 5th, 2000 - 02:00 GMT

Damascus – Albawaba.com 

Syria is considering reopening its stock market after it has been frozen for 40 years, according to sources at the country's ministry of economy, who said the revived bourse will be named "Syrian Securities Market." 

The sources told Albawaba.com that the bill involves the foundation of a financially and administratively independent public company to be based in Damascus and charged with stock deals. 

They added that the planned company, which will be considered an independent party in stock transactions, will report to the minister of economy. 

The sources, who asked for anonymity, said the market will be concerned mainly with public shareholding companies, the capital of which will be no less than ten million Syrian liras. These companies will authorize the market to exclusively carry out stock transactions on their behalf and upon their request. 

According to the ministry sources, the minister is entitled, according to the draft law, to freeze, for a period of a week, transactions on the shares of a certain company in response to a recommendation by the board of directors of that company, or any concerned party. This period can be extended for more than a week with the consent of the prime minister. The minister has also the power to impose a halt on the work of middlemen for different periods, and even to stop activities in the market for three days, and for a longer time if he gets the consent of the premiere. 

The plan has already stirred widely different reactions in Syria. President of Damascus Chamber of Industry said that the stock market is a far-reaching ambition that needs as pre-requisites certain conditions that are not available so far. But businessmen said the market is virtually in existence, though not declared, where some parties are taking advantage of it at the expense of the others. 

Politicians had their say on the issue, too. Members of Syria’s communist party saw the foundation of the securities market as a sign of the decline of the public sector and a perestroika that threatens “socialist transformation.”  

© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)

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