Firms active in Syria get aid

Firms active in Syria get aid

ISTANBUL- Hürriyet Daily News
Firms active in Syria get aid

A group of Syrian refugees escaping from the conflicts in their home land, are seeking shelter in Turkey. The country’ exports to Syria fell 66.5 percent in the first seven months of the year from the same period in 2011. AA photo

The Economy Ministry has announced further measures to ease the financial situation of Turkish companies doing business in crisis-hit Syria.

Turkish firms active in Syria will now be able to re-structure their loans if they have paid only 5 percent of the total debt, Economy Minister Zafer Çağlayan said Sept. 21 in a written statement. The figure was previously 15 percent.

The government has also provided the firms with a debt relief opportunity regarding accrued tax, labor insurance premiums, and a chance to benefit from an Eximbank loan facility of three-year term loan with a 1.5-year grace period.

‘A sigh of relief’
“The regulation will allow these firms to heave a sigh of relief and increase their credibility,” Minister Çağlayan said.

The banking regulator BDDK is also taking measures on the issue, he said in the statement.

Firms, which fail to fulfill their liabilities two times, will have a third chance to reconstruct loan scheme, if firms have temporary liquidity difficulty, Çağlayan said.

Turkey’s eastern and southeastern provinces of Adana, Adıyaman, Hatay, Osmaniye, Gaziantep, Kilis, Şanlıurfa, Kahramanmaraş, Mardin and Şırnak are becoming depressed in the trade, exports, logistics, transportation and tourism sectors since the beginning of the unrest in Syria due to their ties with the neighboring country and linked markets.

The government’s measures are no remedy for the deep economic impact stemming from the instability and the bitter relations between Turkey and Syria, according to an opposition member of parliament.

The measures do not tackle the deepening economic crisis stemming from the dying trade relations with Syria in more than 10 southern and southeastern provinces, Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputy Umut Oran told the Daily News in a phone interview Sept. 21.

“I am currently in the midst of a regional trip covering Gaziantep, Kilis and Hatay [provinces bordering Syria] to talk to nongovernmental organizations, shopkeepers, small-scale enterprises and trade unions. You can observe that things are getting worse. In fact, there are no concrete measures for this,” he said.

There is particular difficulty being experienced in industry and exports, Oran said. Turkey’s exports to Syria plunged to $338 million year-on-year in the first seven months of the year from $1.1 billion, posting a 66.5 percent decrease, according to a report Oran revealed in August. Tax revenues in provinces with close economic ties with Syria also dropped significantly, the reports said.

The CHP has submitted a proposal for debt relief of shopkeepers and small-scale enterprises, as the deepest impacts of the crisis are being felt by them, Oran said.