Increase in Gasoline Can Lead to Undesirable Radicalization of Azerbaijanis

Baku / 15.07.17 / Turan: Exactly one year ago, on July 15, electricity in Azerbaijan unexpectedly went up. Since then, there have been several increases in the price of other socially important goods. This time, again by a secret night decision, the Tariff Council decided to raise the price of AI-92 gasoline by 20 gapik, bringing to 90 gapik per liter. On Friday, the TC increased the cost of drugs.

Premium gasoline last rose on January 31 this year and is sold for 1.15 manat. Then the government explained the reason for the price increase by the fact that the gasoline of this brand is not produced in Azerbaijan, private entrepreneurs import it from Romania, and the rate of the manat to the euro has changed, and respectively, the cost of European gasoline has risen. Some owners of cars, the technical conditions of which require Premium gasoline, then completely switched to gasoline # 92 or diluted expensive gasoline with cheap gasoline, risking spoiling the car"s engine. As a result, the consumption of Grade 92 in Azerbaijan increased.

This time, the rise in price of gasoline AI-92 is officially explained by the desire to bring the quality of gasoline to European standards, and it is noted that gasoline prices were revised on the basis of treatment by SOCAR. That is, the government admitted that it was selling low-quality gasoline to the population.

The Tariff Council "reassured" the citizens by adding that, despite the increase in the price of AI-92 gasoline, in Azerbaijan it is still cheaper than in Georgia, the USA, Russia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan. But the economist Gubad Ibadoglu presents other data. In Azerbaijan gasoline now costs $ 0.53, while in the USA and the United Arab Emirates it is $ 0.48, Oman - $ 0.47, Nigeria - $ 0.46, Kazakhstan and Malaysia - $ 0.44, Bahrain - $ 0.42, Ecuador - $ 0.39, Egypt - $ 0.36, Iran - $0.34, Kuwait and Algeria - $0.32, Turkmenistan - $0.27, Saudi Arabia - $ 0.24, and Venezuela - $ 0.01.

The economist Aziz Khalilov believes that since SOCAR, the state oil company, is the largest taxpayer in Azerbaijan, therefore, the rise in price of gasoline produced by this company will lead to an increase in the receipt of taxes in the state treasury. "But the budget will not grow very much from such replenishment. I do not see logic in the actions of the government," Khalilov writes.

Prices for all types of food and goods transported by cars will necessarily rise, Gubad Ibadoglu considers. As a result of the government's actions, the price of public transport and taxis will increase. The rise in price of gasoline by 28.5% will spur inflation, the level of which in the first half of the year was 13.9%, Ibadoglu says. He predicts not less than 15% inflation in the remaining months of 2017.

The economist Samir Aliyev is not satisfied with the official explanation of the reason for the rise in price. After the sharp increase in inflation, a second blow to the people could be caused by a rise in price of gasoline, and it happened. The only possible explanation for this is the desire of SOCAR to raise its income, since 70% of its products are sold at Azerbaijani gas stations, says the expert.

The journalist Natig Javadli lives in Sumgait. Almost all cars in this city, mostly populated by poor people, are fueled by gasoline # 92. "Usually Sumgait Boulevard was filled with people. And yesterday the city seemed to be empty, the cars disappeared, and only petrol stations were crowded with drivers, who discussed the latest price hike. The people cannot get out of the price shock," Javadli said.

Simple folk logic involuntarily brings reasoning to the topic of 200 million dollars stolen by the former head of the subway Taghi Ahmedov. "If the state does not have money, let it be taken away from Ahmedov, so why are people tortured?" Azerbaijanis lament in social networks.

It should be noted that 10 days ago the Azerbaijan Railway raised the cost of tickets to passenger cars by 20%. In comparison with last year, the price of bread in Azerbaijan increased by 20-30%.

Just yesterday, a few hours before the night rise in the price of gasoline in the main mosque of Azerbaijan, Taza Pir, there was an alarming event: during Friday prayers, when there are especially many believers in the mosque, two unknown people rushed into it. One held a sword in his hand, and the other held a religious banner. The attackers were detained in time and sent to the police. For the authorities, this incident should become an indicator of a high level of tension in society. There are many radical citizens, and after the total increase in all prices caused by the latest decision of the Tariff Council, extremists in Azerbaijan will become even more. It is better to look for other ways to fill the gap in the treasury, caused by attacks on it by officials such as Taghi Ahmedov. -0-

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