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Gas prices jump again in Kurdistan Region, prompting protests from taxi, bus drivers

Protest in Ranya over the increase of Gasoline price. Oct 14, 2021. (NRT Digital Media)
PM:01:17:14/10/2021

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SULAIMANI — Minibus and taxi drivers protested against high gasoline prices in the Kurdistan Region on Thursday (October 14), saying that they would have to pass the costs on to consumers in order to make ends meet.

Shortly after Iraqi’s parliamentary election on October 10, gas prices jumped sharply in the Region, with some gas stations now selling normal grade fuel for 875 Iraqi dinars ($0.60) per liter or 75 Iraqi dinars ($0.05) more than the week before.

Prices at other stations around the Kurdistan Region were even higher.

At the start of 2021, normal grade gas was selling for 500 Iraqi dinars ($0.34) per liter and had already risen to around 750 Iraqi dinars per liter ($0.51) late this summer.

The initial increase was because of the devaluation of the Iraqi dinar and taxes imposed by the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG).

KRG Spokesperson Jotiar Adil on Thursdayattributed the jump in prices to the increasing global price of oil and to some shipments of refined gasoline being stopped at international borders.

"We are in touch with the Ministry of Natural Resources to solve the problem,” Adil said.

 

Gas prices are significantly lower in central and southern Iraq, where normal grade gas sells for 450 Iraqi dinars ($0.31) per liter at subsidized rates.

Average monthly employment income in the Kurdistan Region is around $247 per month, according to the UN Development Programme, meaning that gas price increases put a serious and regressive burden on drivers.

"We can’t work like this,” one protester in Ranya told NRT.

"They have to either lower the price of gasoline or we will add 500 Iraqi dinars to our fares,” he added.

(NRT Digital Media)

 

875 Iraqi dinars/liter = $2.27/gallon

 
This story was updated at 5:20 p.m. EBL