Everybody in Syria is asking the same question: Why didn’t prices come down even after the dollar exchange rate dropped from 325 SP to 225 SP?
Many goods, bought at low prices were stored, and many of them are public stock. But procedural failures and a tendency to overlook the way prices are set – whether through ignorance, or negligence towards what is happening in the market – meant that merchants operated outside of pricing regulations.
Economic experts suggest that the government should keep intervening, by revealing the extra stock stored by various institutions. This has had a positive effect in the past. In addition it should regulate fair pricing practices to allow the Syrian pound to regain its strength.
Stored goods should be delivered through card systems and the prices should be set by the government, instead of the market, like now. This would pressure on merchants and monopolists, and enable the poor to purchase goods.
Manager of Planning in the Ministry of Economy, Samar Qsebati said that merchants are raising prices whenever the dollar exchange rate rises, but are not lowering them when the rate falls, exploiting the profit margin in the absence of regulations. This same phenomenon occurred during the crisis of the 1980s, when prices stayed high even after the crisis was over.
Qsebati said that the law related to price monitoring, adopted by the government recently will play a role in protecting the consumer, the weakest point in the economic chain. The law will also prevent monopolies and manipulation by merchants, especially when it comes to bread, which is considered a red line.
Such positive intervention by the government is an important priority and should be extended to an increased number of products.
Translated and edited by the Syrian Observer