While the decision to end subsidies for basic commodities and essential products was delayed, a steady and gradual rise in prices of both fuel and wheat has been recently observed. This was considered by some as a prelude of what’s to come in terms of the complete lifting of subsidies, as the gradual nature of prices could avoid some of the popular anger and backlash.
Media sources have reported that the Governor of the Central Bank Riad Salemeh was adamant, last night, when he declared unequivocally that the Central Bank can no longer continue its commitment to subsidies. He urged the government to quickly act and enact a rationing plan before reserves are completely depleted, and the bank is forced to halt subsidies completely. In the meeting held by the Ministerial Committee for Rations and Subsidies, Salemeh clarified that the usable reserves are on the brink of expiration, and that he will no longer be able to secure the foreign currency required to import basic commodities two months from now as a maximum.
This information was accompanied with rumors that indicate a decision has been made that the acting cabinet must take immediate action to resolve the issue of rationing without waiting for the new cabinet formation. Currently, subsidies have transformed into a mechanism that supports merchants and the wealthy at the expense of the poor and the needy. This task is seen as a “hot potato” tossed around between the current acting cabinet and the newly anticipated cabinet whose formation is nowhere in sight.