Asharq Al-awsat English Middle-east and International News and Opinion from Asharq Al-awsat Newspaper

Damascus Accused of Deepenig Syrians’ Poverty after Raising Telecom Fees

Damascus Accused of Deepenig Syrians’ Poverty after Raising Telecom Fees

Wednesday, 8 June, 2022 - 09:00
People shop at a market in Damascus on Tuesday. (AFP)

Great resentment is spreading among large segments of the population in Damascus as the Syrian government continues to raise all prices, especially those of basic services, exacerbating the severe poverty that Syrians suffer under.

Experts pointed out that the government, considering the difficult economic and financial situation it is experiencing, has turned the citizens' income into a major source of funding for its treasury.

The Syrian Telecommunication Regulatory Authority, the state entity that regulates telecom prices in the country, increased the service prices of MTN, Syriatel, and the state-owned Syrian Telecommunication Company by 50%.

The increase went into effect at the start of June.

The hike came a few days after the Ministry of Interior raised the fees for issuing the “instant” passport to SYP 300,000 from SYP102,000.

This was also preceded by raising the prices of unsubsidized gasoline and diesel fuel.

The Authority’s decision to raise prices was met with great resentment by the people in Damascus.

Many are arguing that citizens are “already exhausted” due to the continuous rise in prices and the erosion of their purchasing power.

Monthly salaries barely last three to four days, a Damascene private company employee told Asharq Al-Awsat.

“Most families live on one meal a day, while some eat only bread,” said the employee who chose to go by their initials M.R.

“Most families are in dire need of the Internet because they have children and relatives abroad and they talk to them almost daily, and in light of the new decision, every family needs a monthly salary dedicated solely for communications,” added M.R.

The UN’s World Food Program had warned, in a recent statement, of the aggravation of the food crisis in Syria due to the increase in food prices by more than 800 percent in the last two years.

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