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 International Monetary Fund (S.A.R)-Feb 2010- Staff Report for the 2009 Article IV Consultation Syrian Arab Republic —2009 Article IV Consultation Preliminary Conclusions of the IMF Mission Highlights on the International Financial and Investment Institutions Forum
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     Highlights on the International Financial and Investment Institutions Forum

    Details
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    The International Financial and Investment Institutions Forum was held recently at the Four Seasons Hotel in Damascus with the theme of "Financial Services Role in Investment Markets prosperity"
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    The event has signaled that Syria is steaming ahead to create an attractive investment climate and to open further the financial and banking sectors. While the forum brought together more than 300 investors and businessmen, and despite political pressures facing the country, it has been a sign of investors rising interest in the Syrian market which is expected to grow remarkably in the coming years.
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    Developments taking place in the financial and banking sectors signal the growing transparency of the national economy and the implementation of partnerships that will contribute strongly to the national economy through encouraging investment projects.
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    Addressing the participants in the forum, Dr. Mohammed al-Hussein, Minister of Finance, affirmed that the ministry is currently focusing on reforming the tax administration, noting that the Cabinet is discussing at present a draft law on setting up a unified tax administration named "The General commission for Taxation and Duties".
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    “Hopes are pinned on the sector of taxes and duties regarding compensating lack in oil revenues, combating tax evasion and raising awareness about tax culture” the minister added.
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    “The government is planning to incorporate the tax on the added value into the Syrian taxation system by 2009,” said al-Hussein.
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    He outlined that a package of financial laws will be issued before the end of this year, including a new law to solve financial entanglement and is currently being discussed by the Cabinet. “This law is expected to eliminate 446 billion S.P in debts.”
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    “The actual deficit of the State Budget in 2006 reached 6,2 percent of GDP.”
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    Suleiman al-Hasan, Chairman of the Syrian Federation of Insurance Companies, outlined the substantial changes that have taken place in the insurance sector. Most important of these changes is the issuance of legislative decree No.43 of 2005. ‏
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    “The number of insurance companies operating in the market has so far reached 11 companies. The value of insurance premiums has increased to reach between 20 and 30 percent this year,” al-Hasan said.
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    Syria enjoys a favorable investment climate; local, Arab and foreign investments have flowed into the country while the private sector contribution to GDP has increased, he added.
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    Dr. Rateb al-Shallah, Chief of the Board of Directors of the Damascus Stock Market, pointed out that the cost of technical equipment for the Stock Market stands at around 500 million S.P, aside from the cost of relevant studies.
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    The Stock Market is a basic tool in investment; hence, every step relating to the stock market should be studied well. The Market should be based on international standards, operate with transparency, and be capable of attracting investment, al-Shallah said.
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    Duraid Dergham, General Manger of the Syrian Commercial Bank, called for banking financing to be oriented towards investment sectors and not to be limited to vehicles only.
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    When the Risks Centralization System is finalized, the Bank may dispense with the required guarantees, Dergham said, calling for the application of the Risks Centralization System throughout the Arab region.
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    Samer al-Ashi, Secretary General of the Syrian Union of Insurance Companies, said: the forum is an opportunity to show the extent of the development of financial institutions, whether in banking or insurance. Hence, the proliferation of such institutions will pave the way for the return of immigrated money home. Also contributing to an effective participation in building the national economy by implementing affective investment projects or through contributing financially to small and medium enterprises that will hopefully create job opportunities.
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    The forum is designed to allow participants be briefed on investment opportunities available in Syria, to become familiar with and understand how to benefit from financial services, said Maher Abdul Haq, Director General of Al-Salam for Conferences.
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    The Exhibition Bintex was held in conjunction with the forum where participants represented local and Arab banks, financial mediation efforts, monetary exchange and transfer companies as well as banking security and safety systems.
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    However, the event was an opportunity to discuss the challenges facing investment in the country, and the role of the stock market in developing the national economy.

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    Syrian Arab Republic —2009 Article IV Consultation Preliminary Conclusions of the IMF Mission
    Supply of Electronic Equipment, Class Furniture, and Integrated Financial Management Information System
    Standard Advertisement for International Restricted Service Contract Tender Procedures
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    Highlights on the International Financial and Investment Institutions Forum
    Supply of Electronic Equipment, Class Furniture, and Integrated Financial Management Information System
    Standard Advertisement for International Restricted Service Contract Tender Procedures
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