Recent reports highlight the adverse impact of salary increases on the closure of beloved shops and restaurants, as surging material costs and challenging selling conditions force business owners to shutter their establishments. Abdel Aziz Maqali, the head of the Consumer Protection Association affiliated with the regime in Damascus Governorate, shed light on the situation.
Numerous proprietors of shops and eateries have deemed operating under current prices unsustainable. The swelling expenses of materials and the inability to align sales with prevailing circumstances have compelled many to take the drastic step of shutting down, all in a bid to prevent supply disruptions.
In Damascus, proprietors of popular establishments have taken matters into their own hands by setting their own prices, bypassing the official price directives issued by the government. This shift follows the backdrop of increased fuel prices. The result is a tumultuous market scenario within regime-controlled zones, marked by confusion and instability in the availability of basic food essentials, as corroborated by reports from loyalist media outlets.
Sam Ghurra, a representative from the Association of Popular Restaurants, Parks, and Cafes loyal to the regime, disclosed that raw material costs surged by an alarming 50% over the past few days. The concurrent decision to elevate fuel prices has further exacerbated the situation, compelling businesses to establish their own price structures, rather than waiting for official price announcements from entities like the internal trade and consumer protection or the governorate.
He outlined the ongoing market instability, hampering consensus on reasonable official price points that would cater to both consumers and restaurant owners. The volatility in material prices, particularly the doubling of oil prices and an over 60% increase in tahini prices has created a challenging environment. To illustrate the impact, he shared that the cost of rosary items has soared to 26,000 pounds and in certain instances, a kilo is being sold for 32,000 pounds. Sandwiches now command prices over 1,000 pounds higher than before the fuel price hike.
In this context, “Al-Maqali” acknowledged the considerable chasm between existing market prices and official benchmarks. He underscored the necessity of managing exchange rates and establishing stable markets in major urban centers. He went on to voice his concerns about certain elements within the regime, accusing them of adhering to a strategy akin to “shaping clay and then dough.”
Maqali divulged that prices escalated by 40% following the 100% rise in fuel costs and lamented the sluggish pace of market activity.
The recent salary increment authorized by al-Assad, accompanied by a corresponding surge of 100% in oil derivative prices, has precipitated market confusion and near-total stagnation, as reported by government-aligned newspapers.
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.