London: The Government of Syria has imposed a new tax on shawarma sandwiches and a raft of other levies on everyday life as the country struggles to keep economy afloat during war.
Taxing meal: A Syrian man eats a shawarma in Damascus. Pic/AFP
The tax on the popular Middle Eastern dish, which is made by cutting thin slices of grilled spiced meat, shows how the government’s drive to collect revenue has spread into all corners of the economy.
The revenues have slowed to a dribble as the government has lost most of the oil control and gas resources.
50-year-old Damascus resident Tahseen said that she had to pay 220 Syrian pounds instead of the regular 200 pounds and the restaurant owner told her that there was a new 10 per cent ‘reconstruction tax’ being imposed on each sandwich.
The state telecommunications company, which has a monopoly on landlines, has doubled monthly subscription fees for its 4.5 million subscribers.
All public administrations have been ordered to reduce their energy consumption by 30 per cent and get rid of thousands of temporary government employee contracts.
The country’s economy has been ravaged by a conflict that began in March 2011 and has claimed the lives of more than 2,50,000 people while four million people have fled to the neighbouring countries.