SNC Presents its Vision for the Reconstruction of the Syrian Economy
Friday, 25 May 2012
The Finance and Economic Affairs Bureau of the Syrian National Council (SNC) presented its preliminary vision for the reconstruction of the Syrian economy after the collapse of the Assad regime, affirming that the Syrian people will rebuild their country with the aid of allies. On Thursday, May 24, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) hosted a meeting for the Friends of Syria Economic Recovery and Development Group that included representatives from of the SNC. Representatives from more than 54 countries and 10 organizations with interests in economic and international affairs participated in the meeting held in coordination with a foundation working to promote the meeting to international media outlets.
The meeting discussed four documents revolving around the economic vision for the new Syria by each of the United Kingdom (UK), the European Union, Germany and the UAE, in addition to a paper presented by the SNC delegation. Conference participants welcomed the responsibility that was assigned to the working group at the second Friends of Syria conference that took place at that beginning of April. They agreed that the UAE and the Federal Republic of Germany would lead the group.
The working group agreed to meet regularly to work on rebuilding and enhancing the Syrian economy within the four key areas identified in article 6 of the commissioning resolution of the working group.
The working group acknowledged initial plans presented by the UK involving taking immediate and short-term actions during the "stage after the crisis," a plan for coordination between donors presented by the European Commission, a plan for economic policy-making presented by a German representative and a plan to support businessmen presented by a representative of the UAE.
The UAE paper focused on the basic components of an active and productive economy, based on the importance of transparency and good governance and the need to review and update laws to create a positive working environment. The paper also discussed the need to invest in the rehabilitation of human resources so that the work force can acquire the necessary skills for planning and managing a new economy.
Dr. Osama Kadi, executive director of SNC's Finance and Economic Affairs Bureau, presented SNC's economic vision for the new Syria, built upon services that will benefit all Syrians, and freeing them from the economic restraints of the Assad regime. The SNC's plan will put an end to the theft of public funds by the regime and its supporters through a new democratically elected government with the political will to support a free market economy.
The economic plan presented by the SNC was formulated by several parties interested in the future of Syria and its residents, including the SNC Finance and Economic Affairs Bureau, civil society institutions, and members of the Syrian Business Council from both inside and outside Syria. The most important points in the vision are:
1- The resumption of economic activity through:
Focusing on the continuation and protection of important public services, such as clean water, electricity, public transportation, education and health.
Protecting facilities and public and private services, especially in the time period directly after the fall of the regime.
Rebuilding the Syrian cities destroyed by the regime during its war on the Syrian people.
Countering inflation and maintaining the stability of the Syrian currency.
2- The maintenance of the effectiveness of public services and facilities:
Continuing to pay the salaries of employees in the public sector with budgetary support from international donors, resuming exports and increasing public revenue by collecting taxes.
Improving the efficiency of workers in the public sector and maintaining the presence of qualified experts in all administrative sectors.
3- The establishment of the rule of law and the promotion of good governance through:
Promoting the principles of transparency and accountability.
Battling nepotism, cronyism and corruption.
Ensuring the restoration of property and goods stolen by the former regime to the state of Syria.
Ensuring the right of every Syrian citizen to a fair trial before a just and impartial judiciary.
Ensuring the application of equitable and immediate judicial decisions.
Developing a system to collect taxes and redistribute revenue in a manner that is compatible with national objectives and that is fair.
Encouraging decentralization and local economic development for municipalities across Syria.
4- Ensuring that Syrian resources, goods and services are re-introduced to international markets through:
Working with international partners to ensure that economic sanctions are lifted immediately after the regime falls.
Promoting and activating trade relations with neighboring countries and with trade partners at a similar level in the economic and global market.
5- Strengthening and supporting the private sector through:
Applying competitive policies and procedures for transparency.
Reforming the financial sector in order to create an environment that is supportive of investment, so that Syrian businessmen can begin expanding their businesses.
Supporting and focusing attention on small and medium business enterprises.
Ensuring governmental accountability and the social reconstruction of state-owned sectors.
Creating a climate suitable for investment that will promote domestic and international investment.
Encouraging Syrian expatriate communities to contribute to the rebuilding of the Syrian economy.
6- Promoting equality and social justice through:
Empowering Syrian women and promoting their participation in all Syrian sectors, including the business sector.
Abolishing all discriminatory practices, including the marginalization of Kurds in al-Jazira region.
Formulating effective policies and programs for the labor market, and ensuring the provision of an efficient social security system.
Ensuring the freedom of assembly and forming civil society institutions.
Participants welcomed the formation of the economic vision for the new Syria as a dependable alternative to the unreliable policies and practices by the Assad regime. They also affirmed their strong commitment to increasing economic strains on the current Syrian regime by fully implementing the agreed-upon bilateral and multilateral sanctions. Additionally, they stressed on the importance of close cooperation with the working group on economic sanctions.
The formation of the working group was praised in the concluding remarks of the conference, and it was expressed that the Friends of Syria would work closely with the working group. The conference concluding statement indicated that they would jointly prepare for the economic reconstruction and development in Syria after the crisis. Participants affirmed in their concluding statement their "determination to continue providing support for the Syrian people," stressing that "the future of Syria must be determined by Syrians," as they asserted "the group's strong and firm commitment to Syria's independence and political sovereignty, the unity of all its territory, providing economic support in the transitional stage and in the period to come after with the goal of ensuring that Syria will be financially and economically stronger after the crisis."
Independent member of the economic team and activist Farah Atassi, who participated in the conference, affirmed that the goal was "to attract the silent factions within Syrian society that have not officially and clearly joined the revolution to turn its back on the regime through a clear plan that tells them that they are a part of building the future." She continued, "An idea supported by the UAE government for the redevelopment and enhancement of the Syrian economy by concentrating on state institutions with a plan similar to the Marshall plan will be instated." Atassi stressed that the plan "ensures economic stability for at least 6 months after the collapse of the regime; electricity and water, health facilities and infrastructure will be secured, and employees in the public sector will receive their salaries."
The SNC stressed the need for "Syrian residents to feel that Syria will not be destroyed and will not collapse upon the downfall of the regime," adding that the plan is "far from political interactions." Samir Nashar, SNC's executive committee member, added that the Syrian regime is "practically isolated regionally and internationally," and that "freedom has cost the Syrian people a lot, but they will not back down."