The Minister of Internal Trade and Consumer Protection in the Assad regime, Amr Salem, made controversial media statements regarding various topics. He stated that the government could not increase the salaries of employees due to the state’s income limitations. Additionally, he commented that the cash assistance received by Syria was insufficient, according to his estimates.
Salem spoke about the lack of resources at present to increase wages in Syria and stated that the state’s income is limited to customs, taxes, and some profitable institutions. He added that the ministry might have to reduce investment projects that are not economically feasible and reflect them on salaries.
The minister acknowledged that most state employees could not afford basic expenses such as roasted chicken, which costs around 50,000 liras. He also stated that the government is studying how to reduce low-feasibility investment projects and redirect the savings toward increasing employee salaries or providing them with grants.
The minister estimated that since 2011, the dollar price has increased 144-fold, and the most affected by this are the employees whose salaries did not increase even by a small percentage. He also suggested that the aid that arrived in Syria after the earthquake had specific goals and could not be used by the state as it wished. According to him, the cash amounts received so far are relatively small.
The suspension of the price bulletin was justified by the minister as a response to the rapid differences in prices. However, this move is not considered a liberalization of prices but rather a tightening of cost data for everyone. Salem also called on managers of Syrian trade outlets, without exception, to carry out their tasks correctly or resign from their positions. He also mentioned that there is still ongoing suffering from the aftermath of the previous stage of Syria Trade and the presence of large debts.
Salem mentioned that there is a significant problem with prices, and efforts are being made to address it. He pointed out that foreign exchange financing is the main reason for the price rise and claimed that prices would decrease in the coming period.
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.