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Sun 26 Jun 2005 04:00 AM

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Syria to create local stock market

SYRIA has taken “important steps” towards creating a local stock market, according to Mohammad Al Hussein, the country’s minister of finance. The creation of a bourse, which has been backed by president Bashar Assad, is set to encourage further investment in the Syrian economy.

SYRIA has taken “important steps” towards creating a local stock market, according to Mohammad Al Hussein, the country’s minister of finance. The creation of a bourse, which has been backed by president Bashar Assad, is set to encourage further investment in the Syrian economy.

Last week, the Syrian cabinet approved the 22nd law of 2005, which calls for the establishment of an organising body called the ‘Syrian Securities and Stock Market Commission’. The new law came in line with economic and political reforms recommended by the ruling Baath Party congress earlier this month.

“The establishment of this commission and later the stock market, will contribute to completing the building of a modern Syrian economy, which aspires for more progress and merge with the international economy,” said Hussein.

The exchange market is likely to increase Syria’s international profile and encourage investment and the founding of stock firms. The country’s Ministry of Finance is also optimistic that the new bourse will lead to the investment of Syrian money in tourism and construction projects.

“Founding the stock market commission, private banks and Islamic banks in addition to opening the insurance sector to private firms … all these procedures confirm that Syria is determined to continue the economic reform progress,” Hussein added.

Abdullah Al Dardari, Syria’s deputy prime minister for economic affairs said the issuing of the stock exchange law would have numerous benefits for the economic and investment prospects in Syria.

“The law came following deep study and revision by a high-ranking technical team that benefited from experiments of Arab countries in this field and other countries of similar economic conditions to ours,” explained Al Dardari.

The stock exchange is set to be linked to the prime minister’s office, but enjoy financial and administrative independence. Four of the seven members of the Council of Commissioners are independent, meaning the board will work in complete independence. There is no indication when the stock exchange will start operation.

Economic analyst Nabih Sukkar said the idea of creating a stock exchange “is good".

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