News | 25 05 2020
Many Syrians living in areas controlled by the Syrian regime have been convinced that their standards of living will not improve, as it has deteriorated over the past years. Indeed, their lives have become more difficult than during periods of intensified war in previous years.
The government of the Syrian regime does not clearly recognize its inability to fulfill its role in securing the life necessities for Syrians in light of the continued economic crises, most notably the high cost of living and high prices, in addition to the serious devaluation of the Syrian Pound against the US Dollar. The Syrian Pound exchange rate against the US Dollar exceeded 700 Pounds for the first time in Syria's history.
On Wednesday, according to "Syrian Pound Today" website, specialized in foreign currencies, the exchange rate reached 701 Pounds for the sale price and 698 for purchase.
The reasons behind the appreciation of the exchange rate are still unclear, in light of the failure of the Syrian regime government and the Central Bank to act, whereas the initiative of the businessmen to support the Pound did not work.
Syrians in the regime's influence regions are living an economic catastrophe similar to the days of World War I, until the Syrian middle class almost vanished. The amount of 50,000 Syrian Pounds represents the average income of Syrian families, which means that 90 percent of Syrians in those areas are under the poverty line.
Syrians in the city of Qamishli, who were polled by the reporter of "Rozana," considered that the high rise of the Dollar against the Pound leads to the deterioration of their lives, and also resulted in a significant rise in the prices of basic commodities for citizens' lives.
They considered that the high prices due to the deterioration of the exchange rate of the Pound will increase the damage suffered by the citizen, hoping to improve the exchange rate in the coming days.
During their talk to "Rozana" in Idlib, respondents insisted that the deterioration of the Pound is a major concern for them, especially since they are paid in Pound, in comparison to the high prices of materials related to the Dollar.
They also considered that the deteriorating economic situation would have worse impacts on them in the winter period and their need to purchase the already high-price heating materials (fuel oil - firewood).
Economist Younis al-Karim talked to Rozana about to the effect of extreme decrease of the Syrian Pound on the citizens, saying: “The citizens have nowadays become mainly concerned about making a plan helping them continue their day and life.”
Al-Karim pointed to the high school dropouts’ rate due to the low standard of life. According to UN reports, about 85 percent of the population lives below the poverty line and 66 percent suffers from food insecurity, meaning they need urgent help.
He also revealed that the rise of the Dollar against the Syrian Pound means that inflation started overwhelming citizens, as the mass of salaries fell from $ 91 to $ 50. The economist added that "the citizen is rearranging his priorities, and this affects the level of healthcare and education, which has become a type of luxury."
"A lot of the basic needs have become a luxury. The number of meals has dropped and the mechanism of spending and living has fallen. Families have had to sell everything they have to live," added al-Karim.
The economist also talked about the issue of "government support," pointing to the decline in services provided by the "Syrian State institutions" controlled by the Syrian regime as a result of Russian and Iranian policies that took over important institutions that used to provide the Syrian State with foreign exchange, making the government unable to support the citizen. This is in addition to a newly adopted policy by the regime, represented by the privatization of companies.
The former Syrian Minister of Economy and Trade, Nidal al-Shaar, talked about the seriousness of the next stage in the event of continued rise of the exchange rate.
"What is frightening in the rise in the exchange rate is the rise in the overall level of prices as a primary result," said al-Shaar on his Facebook page, adding: “The harshest thing is the repercussions of the rise in prices. At first, there would be a clear decrease in the demand for goods and products, followed by the producers’ reluctance to produce due to poor discharge capacity.”