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Critics Bemoan Regime Plans to Replace Food Subsidies with ‘Financial Aid’

Assad government announces it intends to end its subsidies of foodstuffs, including bread, in favor of monthly stipends for families in need
Critics Bemoan Regime Plans to Replace Food Subsidies with ‘Financial Aid’

Media reported on Syrian regime government's plan to give financial aid to families in exchange for the removal of subsidies on foodstuffs, including bread ingredients.

The internal trade and consumer protection minister in the regime government, Abdullah al-Gharbi, told an economic website that a specialized committee was working on launching an electronic ID card to give financial support to families in need.

The report quoted a government source as saying that the financial support would be accompanied by the lifting of subsidies on bread items and pricing it according to its real value.

He said that the support would occur through opening an account for every family in the commercial bank and transferring a monthly stipend to it from the government.

The lifting of subsidies on bread ingredients was met with a wave of criticisms toward the regime government’s work. Former Economic Minister Lamia Assi said on her Facebook page that what is being reported is, “a real shock, and lifting subsidies will be a fatal mistake.”

Assi said that bread was the one item which people could afford to buy.

“How is it possible to define which families are in need,” she asked, adding, “The government has previously paid more than the amount it saved in lifting subsidies on mazout (cooking oil) as a result of corruption in spending on the fees and the inability to identify families in need.”

Mohamed Hossam Helmy, an economics specialist, told Enab Baladi that lifting subsidies on bread and other commodities has been government policy for a long time because of the pressure on the government budget due to financial sanctions imposed on it.

Helms said that bread was considered a basic commodity by all families and lifting subsidies on it meant more fatigue for those left in Syria through the raising of prices and an evasion of responsibility by the government toward citizens.

On the topic of financial support, Helmy said, “How can the government decide who deserves the material support at a time in which most Syrians have no income or are in need of support. Will the government connect this support with the inflation index if prices rise?”

This article was translated and edited by The Syrian Observer. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.

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