MESOP “TERMS OF TRADE NOW”: Assad Dismisses the Government / ECONOMIC DISASTER

23 June 2016 – Scott Lucas – eaworldview -President Assad dismissed Syria’s Government on Wednesday, asking Electricity Minister Imad Khamis to form a new Cabinet. The change of administration adheres to the 2012 Constitution, in which the Cabinet was considered to have a caretaker role upon the convening of a new Parliament on June 6. However, it also has a political and economic dimension, as the Government of outgoing Prime Minister Wael al-Halqi was under pressure over rising prices and the crippled Syrian economy. A decision this month to raise the costs of gasoline and fuel has been criticized by pro-regime outlets. On Wednesday, al-Halqi acknowledged the difficulty, explaining after a weekly Cabinet session: The state treasury was greatly depleted by the war on Syria, and the years of war and the economic embargo have drained resources and caused production to stall in many sectors.

The government no longer produces oil but buys it in foreign currency, and raising petroleum products has become a necessity in order to keep providing them. The regime has lost control of up to 95% of oilfields and a majority of gas fields, largely to the Islamic State, during Syria’s five-year conflict. With losses of almost $250 billion by the end of 2015, GDP has contracted about 15% each year.

The new Prime Minister Khamis has been Electricity Minister since 2011, having served as general manager of the state’s electricity distribution body. He was sanctioned by the European Union in March 2012 for “using power cuts as a method of repression”.