Fingers are pointing to the "whales" of oil who use the dollar to finance their imports, leading to a rise in its exchange rate against the Syrian pound on the local market.
This was clear in the statement delivered yesterday by Prime Minister Wael al-Halki, regarding the need to rationalize permissions given to the private sector to import petroleum products as imports negatively affected the Syrian pound exchange rate. Halki stressed that imported oil should be directed to industrial and agricultural facilities, and that deterrent penalties should be imposed on violators. Halki asked the Ministry of Finance to collect taxes from the importers of petroleum products in order to achieve real tax justice.
Economy and banking expert, Dr. Aabid Fadliah, said in a statement to AL-Watan that the recent government directives to deter the offenders may have come too late, after the chaos in prices and the rise of the dollar exchange rate. Fadliah explained that a novice in economics was able to predict the situation, resulting from the import of petroleum without regulations to prevent the withdrawal of foreign exchange, negatively affecting the Syrian pound.
The same can be said regarding the quantity of imports and whether they reached the target for which import was originally permitted.
Fadliah said that recent allegations concerning the rise in dollar exchange rate caused by traders and industrialists using the foreign exchange to import petroleum products was hyperbolic. The rise in dollar exchange rate is a result of many interrelated causes – political and military reasons, economic sanctions and terrorism in the region are also crucial factors to consider.
“We cannot overlook the failure of the intervention of the Central Bank of Syria in many stages. Actually, whenever the Central Bank declared its interference, the exchange rate falls slightly, then rises after several days. Either the Central Bank's policy is wrong, or there are stronger reasons than the economic factors”, Fadliah said.
“I think that both causes have their influence, thus, we should continue supporting the import of petroleum products, while these products should be used exclusively in productive activities”.
Translated and edited by The Syrian Observer