Residents in regime-controlled areas have voiced grievances over a situation of economic instability, particularly following false promises of salary increases, amidst mounting concerns over the continual surge in material prices within markets. The Assad regime has opted to regulate transportation fees and bread distribution commissions, a move met with criticism and widespread discontent due to the adverse effects of heightened bread prices and deceptive salary increments.
Finance Minister Kenan Yaghi has asserted that there will be no surge in inflation and has dissociated the hike in bread prices from pension increments. He stated that the cost of the salary increase decree amounts to 2.5 trillion Syrian pounds, emphasizing that the objective behind salary hikes is to sustain the purchasing power of government employees.
Yaghi estimated that the current increment would not significantly impact inflation, as it would be disbursed throughout the year, totalling between 200 to 250 billion Syrian pounds per month. However, this increase comes amidst a drastic surge in living costs, surpassing 200%.
An economist, speaking to a pro-Assad website, highlighted the obligatory nature of the private sector to raise employee salaries following state employee increments, consequently leading to escalated production and sales costs. He emphasized the inevitable rise in prices across all goods from factories, workshops, and shops, citing increased taxes on the private sector and further hikes in fuel prices as means of financing the 50% salary increase.
Economic analyst Ammar Youssef, supporting Assad, underscored the necessity for salaries to increase substantially to meet basic needs, considering the significant depreciation in the purchasing power of the currency.
Economist Fadi Ayyash noted that the salary increase decree was issued outside of the budget, implying direct guidance from Bashar al-Assad. He cautioned that high inflation rates, particularly in production costs, would impede the effectiveness of the increase and strain institutional budgets.
Researcher Rasha Sirop highlighted that the recent salary hikes mark the fourth increase since 2020, with a staggering 485% increase compared to 2020. However, she emphasized that the crucial factor is not the nominal salary but its purchasing power, which has declined substantially since 2020.
Former Economy Minister Lamia Assi questioned the logic behind increasing salaries while allowing prices of essential commodities like bread and oil derivatives to skyrocket, warning of a vicious cycle of inflation eroding the real value of the salary increase.
The regime’s media outlets have pushed back against criticism, dismissing claims linking bread price hikes to salary increases. They cited increased revenues in the bakery sector as evidence of the measures’ effectiveness. Finance Minister Kenan Yaghi clarified that the current salary increase would cost 2.5 trillion Syrian pounds.
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.