Faltering economy | Litre of petrol reaches 11,000 SYP while diesel touches 8,000 SYP
In light of the acute shortage of fuels in regime-controlled areas, ration hours of electricity has been risen to 22 hours a day. As a result, the prices of fuel has increased to unprecedented levels, where a litre of diesel is sold for 8,000 SYP, while the price of petrol has reached 11,000 SYP a litre. The stifling crisis coincides with escalating sufferings of civilians because of the cold weather and lack of bread.
The minister of supply and interior trade has announced that “the fuels, which are sold on black markets for very high prices, have been already stolen, after the ministry had secured them at subsidised prices.”
In mid November, SOHR published a report which reads “the phenomenon of selling diesel allowances, which are distributed via smart cards “Takamol” at state-subsidised prices, has become rampant among civilians. According to SOHR sources, many families sell their allowances to secure money, especially since text messages informing them of the delivery of fuel allowances at petrol stations, in order to receive their allocations of fuel, have been delayed.
It is worth noting that the prices of food and basic products across Syria have increased greatly, which reflects the alarming spiralling economic crisis in all zones of influence which is manifested in the growing rate of poverty and poor purchasing power.
According to SOHR sources, the price of a barrel of diesel has exceeded 1,400,000 SYP, while the price of a ton of fire logs exceeded 1,100,000 SYP. Also, the price of a ton of Pyrene (leftovers of olive pressers) has approximated 1,250,000 SYP.
A wood-burner stove needs two tons of heating materials, such as fire logs and Pyrene, every year; this costs 2,500,000 SYP, which exceeds the salary of a governmental employee for over a year, where the average of salaries of an employee in regime-controlled areas reaches 200,000 SYP.
Diesel, which is subsidised by the Ministry of Internal Trade and Consumer Protection, is sold for 2,500 SYP per litre, while on markets, a litre of diesel is sold for 6,000 SYP.
On the other hand, SOHR sources have reported that many children and women are searching for all inflammable objects in dumpsters, abandoned buildings and streets in the neighbourhoods of Homs city and store them in their houses in order to use them in coming cold months. This coincides with the regime government’s failure to provide fuel and gas to civilians.
Residents in regime-controlled areas are concerned about further increase of heating materials during winter in light of the considerable Syrian currency plunge and looming inflation, at a time when civilians have failed to secure their essentials with the alarming rate of unemployment.
The statement by the secretary of the Consumer Protection Association has ignited public anger, as he announced that the Syrian regime’s government was pessimistic about the improvement of electricity service and decrease of prices during winter. He also stated “only divine power can improve the living situation.” Many social media users see such statements as “irresponsible” and a way to evade his responsibilities.
Moreover, the ongoing disputes in north-east Syria between Mohamed Hamishu militia which is affiliated to the 4th Division and Al-Qaterji militia over transporting oil from SDF-held areas to regime-controlled areas have led to noticeable decrease in the amounts of fuels delivered to local markets in Homs province, which depend on the oil transported by oil truck convoys on the roads between oil wells and Homs refinery.
In this context, a fuel merchant works on black markets has told SOHR that the dispute which ignited recently between war lords and those who benefited from transporting oil led to a state of disorder in local markets and caused a quantum leap in the price of diesel whose price has exceeded 1,400,000 SYP. The merchant has also clarifies that every truck transporting oil on the eastern road transports nearly 1,000 litres of diesel to black markets. This makes Homs as a centre of commercial exchange with several provinces, mainly Hama and Damascus where the price of a barrel of diesel has exceeded 1,800,000 SYP (8,200 SYP per litre).”