Damascus, SANA- The People’s Assembly discussed on Monday with the government’s economic team the reasons for the decisions by the Internal Trade and Consumer Protection Ministry about raising the prices of oil derivatives.
During the session, Assembly members reiterated their criticism of the aforementioned decisions and called for reconsidering them, stressing that any decision that affects the living conditions of citizens must have a positive effect on them.
Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources Suleiman al-Abbas said that the increase in exchange rates and international prices of oil which led to the need to raise prices, while Finance Minister Ismael Ismael said that the unjust economic sanctions imposed on Syria have affected the governmental banks and some private banks also.
Ismael pointed out that the oil revenues used to make up 38% of the treasury revenues before the crisis, and now oil derivatives are imported at a higher cost than the international prices as a result of the economic blockade imposed on Syria, noting that the treasury now depends on the fees, taxes, and resources of some successful public sector establishments as its only source of income.
He considered the recent intervention measures adopted by the government in the currency exchange market as an important attempt to stabilize the market, adding that the sums that will be dispensed as a living compensation are larger than what will be acquired by raising the prices of oil derivatives.
For his part, Minister of Economy and Foreign Trade Humam al-Jazaeri affirmed that amending the prices of oil derivatives is unavoidable due to the rising international prices of oil, despite the fact that this decision doesn’t enjoy any support on all levels because it affects the lives of citizens directly.
In turn, Internal Trade and Consumer Protection Minister Jamal Shahin pointed out that the ministry is working on offering the basic food substances through expanding its retail outlets and sending retail vehicles to rural areas.
Manar al-Freih / Hazem Sabbagh