BEIRUT - Syria's President Bashar al-Assad moved on Wednesday to exempt more low-wage earners from income tax, his office said, as the economy buckles under the weight of U.S. 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 50,000 Syrian pounds ($40) or less per month, up from 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 neighbouring 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 50,000 Syrian pounds to all employees in state institutions including in the army. Retired public workers would get 40,000 pounds. ($1 = 1,256.0000 Syrian pounds)
(Reporting by Kinda Makieh and Ellen Francis; Editing by Lincoln Feast.) ((Ellen.Francis@thomsonreuters.com;))