Regime officials have been justifying the rise in basic bread prices in regime-controlled areas. However, economic experts are skeptical, predicting a worsening of living conditions. Abdul Razzaq Habza, the secretary of the Consumer Protection Association, sees the decision as “positive.” He advocates for selling bread at cost price by removing subsidies but acknowledges the need for the government to address issues stemming from data errors affecting families. Habza suggests a complete lift of bread price subsidies, proposing cash support for the most vulnerable families as an alternative.
A source from the General Organization for Bakeries revealed that Damascus is set to experience breakthroughs in addressing congestion within the next week. Measures have been implemented to prevent overcrowding at bakeries, with a focus on expanding outlets and increasing the number of bakeries. The institution is collaborating with local leaders, neighbourhood committees, and civil society to achieve horizontal growth. Efforts also include rehabilitating damaged bakeries and modernizing production lines to enhance the quality of bread. The source refuted rumours about an upcoming increase in the price of subsidized bread bundles, affirming that the cost will remain at 200 Syrian pounds on the smart card, unchanged for citizens.
The source emphasized the institution’s swift response to all complaints, whether regarding quality or underweight issues. Citizens are encouraged to report any defects for immediate resolution after validation. In August, the government increased diesel prices for private bakeries to 700 Syrian pounds per litre and for the industrial sector and other free sectors from 5,400 Syrian pounds to 11,550 Syrian pounds per litre.
In the same month, the government further increased the price of diesel to 12,800 Syrian pounds. Subsequently, in September, another hike brought it up to 13,000 Syrian pounds. The bakeries in Damascus are now grappling with severe congestion, raising concerns of an impending crisis. Bakeries are operating at a sluggish pace, intermittently halting during the day. Some citizens have reported a change in the colour of bread to brown, signalling a shortage of wheat and the utilization of bran.