Just after a decade of war and hit by Western sanctions, Syria is in the grip of a deep financial crisis with a plummeting forex, the soreness deepened by the coronavirus pandemic and a monetary crunch in neighbouring Lebanon.
In just one of the federal government responses, “the economy ministry has issued a choice banning the import of cell phones until eventually even more observe”, Al-Watan newspaper mentioned on its website.
“As for each the determination, no import licences will be granted for these kinds of devices.”
In a separate report, Al-Watan claimed the import ban was element of a sequence of new steps taken by the federal government to stem the devaluation of the Syrian pound in opposition to the US dollar.
They incorporate “the halting of imports of a number of merchandise that are deemed luxuries and can be dispensed with for several months, this sort of as mobile phones,” the day-to-day stated, citing a economical resource.
On Tuesday, the telecoms authority explained the supply of mobile phones to Syria was a few instances larger than the selection of customers registered on its networks.
“There are ample cellular phones for all latest subscribers as nicely as those who would like to subscribe” in the long term, it reported.
It explained a ban on registering new phones on its networks, which arrived into influence on March 18, would last for six months.
Any new cellphone that has given that joined the network would be blocked immediately, it extra.
The determination, according to the telecom authority, was intended “prioritise the import of primary items that are essential for citizens”.
It also “aims to direct the aim of the government’s efforts in the direction of the desires of citizens”.
Amid the financial crisis, the Syrian pound, which formally trades at 1,256 to the dollar, bought for far more than 4,000 on the black current market last 7 days, an all-time very low.
The hottest import ban promptly prompted cellular telephone selling prices to climb on Wednesday, in accordance to traders in Damascus.
“Costs are naturally going to go up” for the reason that need would exceed provide, claimed Gerios, a 33-calendar year-previous cell retail store proprietor.
“A mobile phone model we provide today won’t be able to be changed quickly, which provides retailers far more leeway to control rates,” he included.
An economist in Damascus who spoke to AFP on affliction of anonymity claimed the place of the import ban was to “divert pounds reserved for cellphone imports to fund vital merchandise”.
The final decision would have short term advantages, he said, as desire for the greenback briefly slows.
But a Syrian tech professional living in Turkey claimed “the government is making an attempt to prohibit the cell mobile phone current market to its business enterprise affiliate marketers”.
“This will power people to invest in telephones from organizations with inbound links to authorities, at a price managed” by these corporations, he told AFP on issue of anonymity.