The Government Is Unable to Create a Unified Discourse. How Can It Control the Markets? 

With the value of the Syrian pound falling and prices rising, people are hoping that they government will be able to find a solution, but so far, little has been offered writes Sowt Al-Asima.

Syrian markets have seen a wave of increasing prices recently, especially food prices, as the government appears unable to control the situation without any relevant monitoring authorities. 

One Damascus merchant said that the government’s reliance on the same importers, who have been storing goods for months, as well as the lack of any interim plan to compensate for the lack of imports, is one main reason for today’s rising prices. 

He added that the regime does not have a clear view of the current reality, whether the coronavirus pandemic or, not least, its ability to determine which goods must be supported and placed on the market. 

This shortfall has not been limited to the regime’s inability to control prices and provide appropriate solutions. Rather, it went hand-in-hand with an inability of state institutions to create any clear and explicit discourse to justify these rising prices and disarray in the markets and exchange rates.  

Pro-regime outlet Al-Watan published three news reports on Saturday, discussing the rise in prices. In the reports, government officials offered justification for the price increases, especially for rationed supplies. 

Tammam al-Oqdeh, head of the Prices Directorate at the Ministry of Internal Trade and Consumer Protection, said the rise in prices was due to an increased demand for goods ahead of Eid al-Fitr, given that the markets are governed by supply and demand. 

Meanwhile, Samer al-Debs, chairman of the Damascus Chamber of Commerce, said the price increases were due to the fluctuation of the Syrian pound against foreign currencies. Any volatility in the exchange rates is automatically accompanied by a rise in prices of basic goods, he said, considering that even traders or manufacturers who did not import their goods are raising their prices in line with the market. 

Deputy chairman of the Damascus Chamber of Commerce Ammar al-Bardan placed blame on smugglers. In his view, smuggling goods to surrounding countries led to the rise in prices, as their cost in Syria is lower than in neighboring states, while the increase in price of some goods is created from the imagination, as imported raw materials are used in their production. 

The Syrian pound meanwhile collapsed in exchange with the dollar, with the price of one dollar on the black market reaching 1,650-1,670 pounds on Sunday morning. 

 

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.

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