Syria adopts tax cuts to tackle rising food prices

AFP , Thursday 17 Feb 2011

Syria on Thursday announced it will cut taxes on basic foodstuffs and imports in a bid to offset rising food prices and help low-income households, the official press reported.

The government slashed the tax on cooking oil by 53.3 per cent. It also reduced the tax on animal fats and sugar by 20 and 25 per cent respectively. "This decree will certainly bring about a decrease in food prices that will benefit low-income earners," the official Al-Thawra newspaper said in an article titled "Special attention granted to the basic needs of citizens."

Import taxes fell from two to one per cent. "We expect merchants to reflect its effects on the retail price of food" after a rise in foodstuff prices on global markets, said an official from the chamber of industry quoted in the newspaper.

Last week Syria's national social aid fund started distributing $250 million (184.5 million euros) of financial aid to 420,000 poor families. The UN Development Programme says 14 percent of Syria's 22 million people live in extreme poverty.

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