Uncontrolled Price Increases under Crisis Worsen Citizens’ Life

The terrible impacts of the seventeen months old crisis in Syria have affected all aspects of life in the country and worsened  the economic condition of citizens whose life has been turned into a nightmare under a state of insecurity and instability, particularly in the areas where armed terrorist groups practice their terrorist acts.

The Syrians, particularly those with law or limited income have suffered deteriorating living standards caused by unstopped and fast increase of prices of all kinds of goods and by remarkable retreat in the employment process.

In an attempt to control the unjustified price increases in the Syrian markets, the Ministries of Economy and of Internal Trade and Consumer Protection have  providedbulletins  fixing the price of each product. However, the Consumer Protection Society has doubted the effectiveness of this procedure in the light of weak control and insufficient following up of implementation, in addition to the absent cooperation between consumers and concerned bodies. This was a source of  frustration for many Syrians .

“It is absolutely unacceptable, only a year and a half ago, the prices of goods were suitable to most people, but now the incomes are not enough to cover the increase of prices, besides, sometimes we can’t find what we need,”  Najwa,  a housewife in her 30s  said, pointing out that she doesn’t work and her husband is a state employee with around 18.000 (SYP) salary which is not enough under these circumstances. 

Khaled, a craftsman, said the prices of all household stuff, vegetables and fruits are higher compared to the past few years. Prices of some necessary goods, among people’s daily needs, have increased by 100%.

“The government controlling body doesn’t work efficiently enough and the procedures taken by the  Economy Ministry can’t prevent some traders to exploit the events taking place in our country,” Khaled said, noting that some traders monopolized certain goods with the purpose of increasing their prices.   

Siham, a state employee, thought that the issue of high prices and how to ease the outcomes of this problem must be a top priority to the government.

“The purchasing ability of consumers is deteriorating due to unstable prices,” she said referring to the unavailability  of some goods in rural areas.

“ Fearing the assaults of armed groups, farmers find difficulties in  getting agricultural goods and conveying them to the markets. This makes the amount of this kind of production small and gives other sellers the opportunity to manipulate prices. ”

Shadi,  a private sector employee, said “buying certain products needs a special budget to be put in advance according to one’s income. Products such as cleaners, eggs, meat, vegetables and fruits, witnessed unacceptable increase in their prices that fruits sometimes are considered by many as luxurious goods that limited income citizens cannot afford.” Besides, he added, there is often a difference in prices from a shop to another. 

 Market prices decided by wholesalers

Abdullah, a retailer, said that liberalizing  prices is the right move to enable consumers to buy the best kind of goods at lowest prices.”

According to Abdulla,  wholesalers are responsible for price increases, “because they themselves sell us the goods at high prices, so, we, as retailers, have to lessen the revenue margin in order to keep our customers, but still prices remain unsuitable to consumers.”

He thinks that both consumers and retailers suffer the same outcomes of high prices and top beneficiaries are wholesalers.

For his part, Chairman of the Consumer Protection Society Adnan Dakhakhni,  in a recent statement to the press, referred to the society’s limited role in controlling price increases, because it has no authority on traders or consumers. Its task is to share with the ministry of economy the studying of markets and to ease citizens’ economic burdens, “ particularly people with limited income.”

“ Today, weak income of citizens makes them feel the heavy burden of prices particularly in popular areas where most limited income people live and this is the part of society which is affected mostly by price increases ,“ Dakhakhni said.

On the importance of the price bulletins being issued by the Ministry of Economy, Dakhakhni said “Generally speaking, it is an attempt to draw up price indices which logically must not be passed over.  Consumers have to be cooperative and follow up these bulletins  and be aware not to pay more than the specified prices. The price bulletins have been studied and designed not to harm traders’ interests. However, in fact, these bulletins are unfortunately no more than papers printed and distributed to traders, without following up or control mechanism that compels traders to stick to listed prices.”

Dakhakhni thinks that the ministry of economy has to enhance the controlling body by increasing the number of monitors in the markets to prevent manipulation, pointing out that only 700 monitors are working all over the country, which is not enough to control the price increases properly.”

However, Dakhakhni optimistically said “the ministries concerned with  prices control have clear and promising visions for the coming era focusing on ensuring good quality products at suitable prices to citizens.”

We will see.


Hamda Moustafa




Government Plans Bolstering Economic Relations with Friendly Countries

Current crisis facing Syria has produced new economic drives and orientations. The most important among them is the economic policy towards reactivating and developing Syria's relations with friendly countries which support our regional and national issues.

Ministry of Economy and Foreign Trade has recently made a special study aiming at achieving remarkable economic relations between Syria and the Customs Federation States (CFS) including Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan. The study concentrates at the importance of redoubling efforts as to strengthen Syria's economic relations with Eastern Countries and as well as with well-known economic blocs. It's worth  mentioning that three rounds of negotiations were held between Syrian experts and representatives of the Customs Federation states .

With regard to the business sector, the study stresses the essential role of stimulating the businessmen's meetings as well as supporting cooperation between Syria's chambers of commerce and industry to take part in the international fairs being held in the customs federation states.

The study concentrates on making use of the friendly countries technical expertise, taking into consideration the key role of  china and Russia in this connection.

The mentioned study refers to the necessity of holding investment trade and economic Forums to enhance direct contacts with the customs federation states.

With respect to the investment domain, the study confirms the necessity of carrying out investment projects in Syria with the aim of exchanging expertise in all fields.

The current period and the forthcoming days as well as sanctions against Syria require making use of the available potentials in all domains mainly the scientific research one.

Despite the unjust economic sanctions and siege imposed on Syria, big efforts are exerted to ease the siege through increasing Syrian exports, opening new markets and holding exhibitions for Syrian industries in the friendly countries.

Rawaa Ghanam




Trade & Economic Cooperation with Ukraine to be bolstered

In the light of the unjust economic sanctions and pressures against the Syrian economy, the Syrian Government is keen on adopting extraordinary measures as to overcome the bad circumstances and  protect its national economy to ensure all production requirements . 

Syria's economic current plans aim at enhancing cooperation and coordination with friendly countries, which have proved their solidarity with Syria in all fields, especially the political one.  Ukraine is considered one of these friendly countries which seeks to discuss all means of developing prospects of cooperation between Syria and Ukraine  in the benefit of the two countries.

 .For this purpose, Syria and Ukraine initialed a Free trade draft agreement last year aiming at expanding trade exchange in all fields, and at developing their cooperation with other countries. The draft agreement is of great importance in consolidating economic and trade exchange due to Syria's distinguished position on the Mediterranean Sea and Ukrainian strategic position on the Black Sea .

 The draft agreement confirms the necessity of eliminating restrictions on goods to facilitate trade exchange between Syria and Ukrainian. It stresses the essential role of constant and direct contacts between Syrian and Ukrainian experts with the aim of exchanging expertise in all fields.

 In a recent press statement. the Deputy Economy and Foreign Trade Minister, Dr. Hayyan Salman,  said that Ukraine has a big economic market within the European Union ( E U) States, and is a pioneering country in qualified industrial and scientific experts

Salman underlines that the current crisis in Syria necessitates the enhancing and developing of all means of cooperation with friendly countries.

According to the Deputy Foreign Trade Minister, there is a dire need for  an official final signing of the said draft agreement, setting –up a joint trade centre to facilitate the export-import movement between Syria and Ukrainian, asserting that Syria is keen on discussing and bolstering all means of cooperation and joint economic , trade and investment projects with  Ukraine.

Furthermore, Dr. Salman highlighted the importance of establishing   a permanent sales center of Syrian products in Ukraine, reactivating of Syrian and Ukrainian businessmen Council, and of carrying out joint economic activities and  organizing joint exhibitions.

Rawaa Ghanam




Despite crisis, Syrian-made clothes to be exported

Syrian economy growth has been recently hit hard because of the foreign-backed terrorist groups' sabotage and destruction acts in Syria , not to mention the unjust  sanctions imposed on it by the Arab League, US, and the European Union.

Trade value in 2012

Official statements show serious negative effects on trade value pointing out that "until August 2012, the weight of Syrian exports estimated about 2.557 billion kg (of the value SP 117.6 million) against 8.173 billion kg (of the value SP. 294.6 m) in comparison with the same month in 2011.

While, the value of imports from January to August 2012 reached SP 620.8 million against SP 664 million in the previous year, according to the index of export and import published by the Syrian official "al-Thawra" Newspaper.

Prices increased

As for prices, they increased by 32.5 percent from May 2011 to May 2012, and 15.4 percent since the beginning of the year, according to official Syrian statistics.

Regarding production and internal trade, all sources stress that it is getting worse due to recent events in Aleppo and Damascus, the two important centers for production in Syria.

30% of workshops closed

Damascus Chamber of Commerce member Sonia Khanji told "alwatan" newspaper that about 30 percent of Syria's small and medium business had been closed, resulting in higher unemployment, which stands at about 25 percent.

Gradual improvement

However, a few businessmen have decided this month to resume work as remittances and transport between the capital (Damascus) and the industrial city (Aleppo) are somehow better than before.

The "Syriasteps" website reported that the resumption of production in some factories (without mentioning names) in these two cities synchronizes with the return of small workshops to work in Damascus countryside to produce accessories for clothes industry.


This brave step during the current situation in the country would be a unique opportunity to sell all products due to scarcity in local and export markets.

Safe roads

But, the next difficult step is to transport the goods to Syrian markets and abroad by safe roads. It's somehow difficult nowadays, because of the terrorist groups' blocking of several roads.

 Recent demands

Recently, dozens of Syrian-made winter clothes exporters have received demands from several states. The main reasons are high quality and competitive prices of the Syrian products which most Arab states including Morocco, and Egypt have got accustomed to wear.

But it wasn't easy to meet such demands and to sign contracts in Syria as unrest still hinders Arab importers' visit to Damascus and Aleppo.

Syria in Cairo Fashion

The only way was to select another place for meeting such as Cairo, where dozens of Syrian industrialists and exporters headed to take part in the 50th Cairo Fashion Tex2012 organized by Pyramids Fair Group.

The participation was the result of efforts exerted by Association of Clothes and Textile Exporters, Motex Administration, Chamber of Industry, the Commission of Supporting Exports, and the Exports' Financing Program.


Basma Qaddour




Development projects with Agha Khan Representative discussed

Prime Minister, Dr. Wa'il al Halaqi recently met with Resident Representative of the Agha Khan Network in Syria Mohamad Seifo and the Network's technical team.

During the meeting, the two sides reviewed the Network's activities, its development projects over 30 countries in the world and its relations in the field of cooperation and development with government and non- government organizations.

They also discussed the development projects being carried out by the Network in the domain of hospitals, health care, rural and agricultural development, financing small and medium enterprises, rehabilitation and renovation castles and archaeological sites.

The Premier called for coordination between the Network and concerned bodies to carry out the standing projects and cooperation to establish new projects.

For his part, Mr. Seifo highlighted the government's support and facilities that help the Network to carry out its projects in the framework of supporting the process of economic and social development in Syria.


     Sharif al Khatib