The Assad regime, through its Finance Minister Kanan Yaghi, has promised to crack down on tax evasion, specifically the contracts of international organizations and the private sector. Yaghi said that “the Finance Ministry will not tolerate a single violation of the treasury’s due payments.” He justified the delay in submitting an analysis of previous accounts by referring to lost assets and documents, as a result of what he described as the “unjust war on Syria.”
“The issue of tax evasion resulting from contracts between international organizations and the private sector is very large; billions of dollars have been allocated to private sector projects in Syria without the Ministry of Finance knowing anything about it,” Yaghi said.
He said that the ministry, in cooperation with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates, has since last year begun sending claims to international organizations, which demand that the organizations provide the ministries with copies of private sector contracts. “We are working towards handling this issue — and the Ministry of Finance will not tolerate one violation from the state treasury’s due payments,” he said in his speech to the “Applause Council” (People’s Assembly).
Earlier, the al-Watan newspaper quoted Yaghi as saying that hundreds of billions — owned by so-called “corrupt” people — have been collected. He vowed to crush the phenomenon of tax evasion and continue to prosecute those accused of evading tax.
Closure of shawarma shops
In other news, several owners of chicken and shawarma shops in Damascus said that they have closed their stores after new taxes and fees have been imposed. It has become more profitable for owners to close the shops than to continue operating and losing money, they said.
Shopkeepers say that the closures result from high costs and the loss of their profit margins due to taxes and fees amounting to 3.5 percent of total revenue, they estimate.
They added that their objection came against the backdrop of their obligation to impose a value-added tax (VAT) on takeaway orders (for each shawarma or chicken sandwich).
This article was translated and edited by The Syrian Observer. The Syrian Observer has not verified the content of this story. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.