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Lebanon Faces Gasoline Crisis, Unprecedented Meat Price Hike

Lebanon Faces Gasoline Crisis, Unprecedented Meat Price Hike

Tuesday, 11 May, 2021 - 09:15
Vehicles queue for fuel at a gas station in the village of Msayleh, Lebanon March 16, 2021. (Reuters)

With the imminent lifting of subsidies on basic supplies, a fuel crisis emerged in Lebanon in parallel with a further increase in the prices of food products, especially meat and poultry, which prompted the General Labor Union to threaten to take to the streets after Eid Al-Fitr holiday.

On Monday, a large number of gas stations abstained from supplying cars with gasoline, while long queues of vehicles waited since early morning to receive a maximum amount of 20 liters of gasoline, a ceiling set by the stations that decided to remain open.

The representative of fuel distributors, Fadi Abu Chakra, said that the current gasoline crisis was due to rumors about an imminent rationalization of subsidy and fear that fuel prices would double.

In remarks to Asharq Al-Awsat, he explained that citizens have rushed to fill and store gasoline over the past few days, which led to fuel scarcity in the market.

Abu Chakra clarified that until the moment, subsidy on gasoline has not been lifted; hence prices have not increased, adding that the distributing companies would complete on Tuesday the distribution of gasoline, which is supposed to end this crisis.

The Lebanese army had recently announced thwarting several operations of fuel smuggling into Syrian territory and the arrest of Lebanese and Syrian people involved in smuggling activities.

Meanwhile, prices of foodstuffs witnessed a major increase over the past two days, especially in meat and poultry, after workers in the sector announced that the Central Bank had stopped securing subsidized dollars for importing meat and poultry supplies.

Citizens rushed to the supermarkets after the syndicate announced that the price of chicken would rise by more than 40 percent within weeks. Moreover, a number of butcheries closed their doors protesting the lack of subsidized meat, while others increased the price of a kilo of meat by 30 percent compared to the past week.

The President of the General Labor Union, Bechara Al-Asmar, warned that the union would not stand idly by amid what he called a "programmed chaos" aimed at starving the people, threatening to take to the streets after Eid Al-Fitr holiday.

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