A few days ago, the Ministry of Internal Trade and Consumer Protection set the sale price of a kilogram of sugar in the market at 3,700 Syrian pounds (loose sugar) and 3,900 Syrian pounds for packaged sugar. This is based on reviewing the price of sugar on international stock exchanges and calculating shipping fees, insurance, clearance, customs duties, and other expenses.
Although the ministry’s decision seemed firm and fair to the consumer, the results were otherwise, and instead of contributing to lowering the price of the substance in the market, the sale of a kilo rose by about 20 percent in addition to the loss of the substance from most shops.
The head of the Consumer Protection Association, Abdul Aziz al-Maaqali, told Al-Watan that the association noticed during a tour of Damascus markets the loss of sugar from most retail shops and the increase in the price of a kilo by at least a thousand Syrian pounds during the past few days.
Several citizens contacted Al-Watan. They are surprised that a kilo of sugar is sold in some Syrian shops for about 6,000 Syrian pounds.
As for the reason for what happened, Maaqali stressed that he does not have convincing answers. However, he perceives that there is a case of manipulation in the market and a refrain from selling, as traders are hiding the substance. It is not permissible to take a decision to reduce the price of a substance in the market based on cost calculations and to grant a meaningful profit margin to importers, wholesalers, and retailers, and then having the material disappear from the market.
Internal trade, consumer protection, and Syrian trade refrained from providing answers or explanations as to why this happened. The state of surprise and questioning of what is happening in the market hangs over with the preponderance of the idea of monopoly or lack of supply.
Assistant Minister of Economy and Foreign Trade, Bassam Haidar, denied the existence of any monopoly in the import of sugar. He said that import licenses are available to everyone who wishes to supply the substance, indicating that the number of suppliers of commercial sugar is increasing and that the rate of supply of sugar has not recorded any decrease.
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.