Lebanese caretaker Energy Minister Raymond Ghajar blamed smuggling to Syria for the gasoline crisis his country is going through.
During a Cabinet meeting on Thursday, Ghajar said that the price difference between Lebanon and Syria allows smugglers to make high profits.
“We presented the causes of the gasoline crisis, and we discovered that the main reason for the scarcity is smuggling out of Lebanese territory due to the difference in prices between Lebanon and Syria,” Ghajar stated after the meeting.
“The need in the Syrian market for gasoline drives Lebanese smugglers to smuggle gasoline into Syria to achieve huge profits, bearing in mind that this substance is subsidized by the Lebanese state for Lebanese citizens,” he added.
The solution to this, Ghajar said, is to fix the price of gasoline. The official noted that the fuel subsidy “will not be lifted before the ration card is approved as part of the rationing plan.”
Ghajar described the hoarding of gasoline by people in Lebanon as “unjustified,” stressing that the government “will not remove the subsidy anytime soon.”
He urged security forces and the Lebanese Army to improve monitoring at official and unofficial border points to curb smuggling.