Lebanese stood in queues in their vehicles on Wednesday as the country witnessed a gradual increase in gasoline prices, one of Lebanon’s multiple plights bringing the country to its knees amid total political failure to address an almost two-year crisis.
Frustrated Lebanese queued at petrol stations across the country and lines of cars blocked traffic in several areas, one day after caretaker Finance Minister, Ghazi Wazni, confirmed that Lebanon is scaling back food subsidies and gradually raising gasoline prices to save dwindling foreign reserves.
Some petrol stations raised their fuel hoses, a sign known well in Lebanon that the station is out of fuel stock and is not providing any services.
Representative of fuel distributors in Lebanon, Fadi Abu Shakra, told MTV television station that “the rise in fuel prices is linked to the rise in dollar, we cannot know if the gasoline prices will rise by an additional 5,000 next week.”
He voiced hopes that a government is formed soon to stop the economic collapse.
Besides removing subsidies on basic food products, Wazni said the government plans to gradually increase prices at fuel stations in the coming months, reducing gasoline subsidies to 85% from 90%.
Lebanon is battling its worst economic crisis since the 1975-1990 civil war. The national currency is in freefall, while poverty and unemployment are on the rise.
The economic downturn has pushed a battered population to the brink with no solution in sight as the country’s barons wrangle over forming a new government.
In the absence of a fully functioning executive that can spearhead reforms and provide the most basic of services, no rescue seems on the horizon.