Syria imposes new fuel rations as sanctions bite

Drivers queue for gasoline in front of a petrol station in the Syrian capital Damascus on April 15, 2019. (AFP)
Updated 15 April 2019
0

Syria imposes new fuel rations as sanctions bite

  • Owners of private cars would now be allowed just 20 liters (about 7.5 gallons) of fuel every five days, the ministry said

DAMASCUS: Damascus on Monday imposed new limits on subsidised petrol for cars and motorbikes in regime-held areas of Syria, in the latest bid to curb a fuel crisis it blames on Western sanctions.
Owners of private cars would now be allowed just 20 liters (about 7.5 gallons) of fuel every five days, said the ministry of petroleum and mineral resources.
At petrol stations in the capital, queues hundreds of meters (yards) long have stretched along streets in the past few weeks, with drivers waiting for hours to get their fill.
Qusay, a taxi driver in his 30s, said he had camped out in his car overnight to make sure he got some fuel from a station, so far to no avail.
“I got to the front of the queue after midnight with less than 20 cars ahead, but then the petrol ran out at the station,” he told AFP, adding that “it’s still closed.”
Ahmad Al-Hamawi, 45, gave up after four long hours of waiting.
“I’ll try to forget my car in the coming days and walk to work,” said the radio program director.
The measures announced on Monday allow taxi drivers to fill up 20 liters every two days.
Motorbikes would be permitted three liters every five days, the ministry said, in what it described as a “temporary measure to fairly distribute petrol.”
The measures are the latest in a series of restrictions on the daily consumption of subsidised petrol.
On April 8, the ministry of petrol and mineral resources said it was temporarily slashing the daily cap on subsidised petrol by half, to 20 liters from 40 per vehicle.
Then on April 10 it further halved the amount to 20 liters every two days.
On Sunday, the government said it would halve the amount of fuel allocated to public institutions to run their vehicles, state news agency SANA said.
The petrol crisis follow fuel oil and cooking gas shortages over the winter.
Syrian officials have blamed the crisis on a flurry of Western sanctions targeting the Damascus regime since the start of the civil war in 2011.
In November, the US Treasury issued an advisory threatening penalties against those “involved in petroleum-related shipping transactions with the Government of Syria.”
Prime Minister Emad Khamis told journalists earlier this month that petrol shipments from Iran had been suspended for six months as Egypt was not allowing them through the Suez Canal, an allegation Cairo has denied.
The regime, backed by Iran and Russia, controls almost two-thirds of Syria after a series of victories against rebels and extremists since 2015, but the country’s main oil and gas fields in the northeast remain out of government control.


Alibaba head’s remarks spark debate over China working hours

Updated 24 min 32 sec ago
0

Alibaba head’s remarks spark debate over China working hours

  • Jack Ma is one of China's richest men and his comments last week brought both condemnation and support as China's more mature economy enters a period of slower growth

BEIJING: Remarks by the head of Chinese online business giant Alibaba that young people should work 12-hour days, six days a week if they want financial success have prompted a public debate over work-life balance in the country.
Jack Ma is one of China’s richest men and his comments last week brought both condemnation and support as China’s more mature economy enters a period of slower growth.
Newspaper People’s Daily, the ruling Communist Party’s mouthpiece, issued an editorial, saying mandatory overtime reflects managerial arrogance and was also impractical and unfair to workers. Online complaints included blaming long work hours for a lower birth rate in the country.
Ma has responded to the criticism by saying work should be a joy and also include time for study, reflection and self-improvement.