Syria’s Bashar Assad cuts tax for low-income workers

Syria’s Bashar Assad cuts tax for low-income workers
Above, president Bashar Al-Assad tours the village of Mashtal Helo in the Syrian Mediterranean port of Tartus. (AFP file photo)
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Updated 21 October 2020

Syria’s Bashar Assad cuts tax for low-income workers

Syria’s Bashar Assad cuts tax for low-income workers
  • It also amends other tax tranches to ‘reduce the tax burden on those with limited income’

BEIRUT: Syria’s President Bashar Assad moved on Wednesday to exempt more low-wage earners from income tax, his office said, as the economy buckles under the weight of US sanctions and nearly a decade of war.
The legislative decree, the first such amendment in years, widens the tranche of low-income workers exempt from tax to cover those earning $40 (50,000 Syrian pounds) or less per month, up from $12 (15,000 Syrian pounds). It also amends other tax tranches to “reduce the tax burden on those with limited income,” the presidency said.
Syrians have suffered from steep price hikes in recent months as the collapse of the currency drives up inflation and piles on hardship. The economy has been hit also by a financial crisis in neighboring Lebanon that has choked off a key source of dollars.
In a separate decision, the presidency also said Assad was giving a one-time grant of $40 (50,000 Syrian pounds) to all employees in state institutions including in the army. Retired public workers would get $32 (40,000 pounds).


Lebanon patriarch tells feuding president and PM-designate to reconcile

Lebanon patriarch tells feuding president and PM-designate to reconcile
Updated 17 January 2021

Lebanon patriarch tells feuding president and PM-designate to reconcile

Lebanon patriarch tells feuding president and PM-designate to reconcile
  • The country’s fractious politicians have been unable to agree on a new administration since the last one quit
  • Maronite Patriarch Bechara Boutros Al-Rai said at his Sunday sermon that the situation in Lebanon was now “tragic”

BEIRUT: Lebanon’s top Christian cleric has urged President Michel Aoun to set up a reconciliation meeting with Prime Minister-designate Saad Al-Hariri to form a cabinet and end the country’s political deadlock.
The country’s fractious politicians have been unable to agree on a new administration since the last one quit in the aftermath of the Aug. 4 Beirut port explosion, leaving Lebanon rudderless as it sinks deeper into economic crisis.
Tensions between Aoun and Hariri, who publicly traded blame in December after failing to agree a cabinet, came to a head last week when a leaked video showed Aoun apparently calling Hariri a liar.
Maronite Patriarch Bechara Boutros Al-Rai said at his Sunday sermon that the situation in Lebanon was now “tragic” and there was no excuse to further delay forming a government.
“We wish that his excellency the president take the initiative and invite the prime minister-designate to a meeting.”
Veteran Sunni politician Hariri was named premier for a fourth time in October, promising to form a cabinet of specialists to enact reforms necessary to unlock foreign aid, but political wrangling has delayed the process since.
The leaked video that circulated on social media last week showed Aoun talking to caretaker Prime Minister Hassan Diab about Hariri.
“There is no government formation, he (Hariri) is saying he gave me a paper, he is lying,” Aoun is heard saying.
Sources in the president’s office said the dialogue had been taken out of context and was not complete.
After the video circulated, Hariri tweeted biblical verses referring to wisdom not residing in bodies that were amenable to sin.
The souring of the relationship between Aoun and Hariri comes as the country continues to struggle with an acute financial crisis that has seen the currency sink by about 80%.
Lebanon’s health care system is also buckling under the pressure of a severe spike in COVID-19 infections. Medical supplies have dwindled as dollars have grown scarce.