Fuel prices in Lebanon continue to rise, while the government attributes the reason for the increase to the activities of smuggling to Syria.
The Lebanese Minister of Energy and Water, Raymond Ghajar, said that smuggling of fuel to Syria has severely affected prices, “and, therefore, these illegal activities must be put to an end”.
Lebanon suffers from several crises, most notably the shortage of foreign currency supply and the mad rise in the Lebanese pound. At the same time, inflation has reached record levels in the country.
Fuel prices in Lebanon
Ghajar’s speech came after a meeting held by the government, headed by the caretaker prime minister, Hassan Diab, to discuss the fuel crisis, and was attended by all concerned parties.
The minister said after the meeting: “We presented the causes of the gasoline crisis, and it became clear to us that the main reason for the scarcity is the smuggling out of Lebanese territory because of the difference in prices between Lebanon and Syria”.
Ghajar added, “the need in the Syrian market for gasoline drives the Lebanese smugglers to smuggle gasoline into Syria to achieve huge profits, knowing that this it is subsidized by the Lebanese state for Lebanese citizens”.
The minister said that he solution is to control the prices and not raise the subsidy. The also said that the government will not lift the subsidies soon.
He called on the security forces and the Lebanese army to activate checks at the official and unofficial borders to curb smuggling.
The prices of both 95-octane gasoline and 98 octane raised 100 liras, while the prices of diesel fuel decreased 100 liras while gas decreased 300 liras.
Hence, the prices became as follows: gasoline 95 octane at 38,800 liras, gasoline 98 octane at 40,000 liras, diesel at 26,300 liras, and gas at 25,500 liras.
It should be noted that inflation in Lebanon has jumped to record levels in recent months, adding to the pressure on foreign exchange reserves, which are suffocating day after day.