Oct 25, 2022 1246
Transferring the assets of the Syrian state to independent bodies: Enhancing management efficiency or an approach to offset debt
Since the end of 2019, the Syrian regime has started looking for mechanisms to diversify government sources in order to repay the accumulated debt of its allies and enhance the government’s ability to continue providing its services. This prompted it to take several steps represented in the start of tax collection, gradually lifting subsidies of some basic commodities and limiting the resources of some commodities to the government itself. It also granted the right to manage some public assets to Iranian companies, as is the case with the Arad Machine Company, which started managing government sites; most notably: silos and ovens.
Recently, the regime worked on establishing a public authority for Al-Baath University Hospital in the central region. Another project was also developed to establish the Public General Authority for Fisheries based in Lattakia. Moreover, the regime's government has transformed the Customs Directorate into a public authority separate from the Ministry of Finance. On July 4, 2022, it issued a law to transform the dormitories into public bodies.
The stage of establishing public bodies in Syria witnessed a noticeable interruption, separating two stages: the first was related to improving the efficiency of government institutions and their ability to manage. The second was to improve the state's resources. This can be inferred by:
• The nature of the bodies established before 2011 that were administrative ones to improve the reality of the monetary sector, as is the case in the Real Estate Finance Authority and the Syrian Badia Development Authority. This is also added to the nature of the recently established bodies as a one to manage each dormitory, another body to manage a hospital and a fisheries management body at a sub-level in each region.
• The general context of the establishment of public bodies recently, which comes amid a campaign of financial reform and diversification of government sources through reducing subsidies, raising taxes and introducing public fees.
Knowing that the General Authority is an agency established by the government in order to strengthen the economy to achieve general purposes. According to this principle, the General Authority operates outside the complicated governmental framework in order to achieve good and efficient resources and services that are reflected on the beneficiaries in terms of service. This can provide some financial support to the government and to the economy in general, in terms of creating new sectors.
Although the public authorities have been known in Syria for a long time, the regime had taken the establishment of public authorities in Syria between 2008 and 2009 as a reform approach to improve the efficiency of the public sector in managing the Syrian economy, as is the case in the General Authority for Real Estate Finance and the Syrian Badia Development Authority, the General Authority for Fisheries and other bodies.