Gas prices drop in Kurdistan
Following months of high gas prices due to the consequent security and financial crises in Kurdistan Region, the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) lowered gasoline prices by more than 22%, from IQD900/liter to IQD700/liter. The new prices were effective March 1, 2015.
The decision came after a lot of complaints and criticism by the people about the high prices.
People, who have been already suffering from the prolonged financial crisis and salary issues, welcomed the decision and hailed the efforts that led to the price reduction.
“Fuel price drop is not only good for drivers but also for all the people,” said Adnan Sheikh Omer, a local from Erbil says. “Reduced gas prices mean reduced transportation cost, which is in the benefit of the public.”
Sabir Rostam from Garmian says the timing of the decision was perfect as people are suffering from the financial crisis.
He claimed that this would have a broader impact by pushing down commodity prices, which in the end will benefit the people of the Region.”
Karwan Ali, on the other hand, says the prices do not yet meet the expectations of the people; however, they also need to consider the pressure and burden on the government as their budget share has been cut by Baghdad for 14 months now.
“Beiji Refinery used to be the source of gas supply to the region,” said Ali. “However, due to the ISIS war, Kurdistan is no longer receiving fuel from the refinery.”
Musheer Arif, an economist, says this decision has two aspects, “on the one hand it is in the benefit of the people, but on the other hands it harms the government financial situation and its money reserves.”
Arif argues that people should be aware of both sides of the price drops and instead of only thinking of the amounts they save in buying fuel, they should also think about the burden on the government by subsidizing the gas.”
Arif suggests that government should use the media to raise people’s awareness about the use of fuel and the negative impacts of low fuel prices and its excessive consumption.