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French Version


Siniora urges Arabs to address weaknesses (Daily Star)

The Arab nation must concentrate its efforts on remedying the problems and weaknesses that have resulted from the recent tragic events in Iraq, according to Finance Minster Fouad Siniora.

“The time has come for the Arabs to move into the new age of technology and globalization,” said Siniora, at the opening ceremony of the Arab Society of Certified Accountants’ regional meeting at the Finance Institute in Beirut, Friday.

“We must ensure that no other Arab country suffers the same fate in the future,” he added.

According to Siniora, the post-Enron era has seen the implementation of new laws and standards, coupled with additional mechanisms of control, to avoid similar financial disasters in the future. “We must keep up with the new trends by introducing international standards and inducing transparency in our accounting and auditing systems,” said Siniora. “We should strive for a single unified Arab code,” he added.

Siniora said the new code should be the result of inter-Arab cooperation, with an understanding of the Arab environment and in line with international standards and the latest technologies.

Siniora reiterated Prime Minister Rafik Hariri’s proposal to merge individual small accounting and auditing firms into national giants, incorporating the latest information technology developments, which are able to compete with world players. “Government accountability and auditing is the next step for us with the development of the ‘performance budget’ concept,” said Siniora. “The upcoming Francophone meeting in France in November 2003, will tackle the bases and mechanisms of this concept.”

According to Siniora, government auditing will lead to a leaner and more efficient public sector, allowing for a sound and timely decision-making mechanism. “Public funds are an entrusted responsibility and must achieve the promised results,” stressed Siniora. “The new economic challenges call for a quality shift from the old ways.”

Siniora said such changes would require years to fully implement, highlighting Leb-anon’s role as a pioneer in the Arab world in pursuit of reform. “The success of ‘Paris II’ would not have been possible without the Lebanese government’s commitment to reform,” said Siniora.


Beirut 05-05-2003
Ara Alain Arzoumanian
The Daily Star



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