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Traditional money saving methods bankrupt some and enrich others

Features | 2017-08-11 17:40:41
Traditional money saving methods bankrupt some and enrich others

(Eqtsad)- Few Syrians may have started depositing their money in banks prior to and after the revolution, but in liberated areas, there are no commercial banks or banks at all, so how are people saving their money?

A few years before the revolution, Muayyad opened a carpet shop in Damascus countryside, and his business was successful, so he managed to open several other stores. 

Over time, Muayad was able to gather a good fortune, but he chose not to deposit his profits in a bank and turned his profits into gold. The practice of buying gold as savings is old and is used by many Syrians. For many small traders and well off individuals dealing with banks was seen as a hassle and they preferred to save their money as gold rather than deposit cash to the banks. 

In the liberated areas today, people are turning their profits into gold or buying US Dollars. Some people such as Moataz, from rural Idlib, are making large gains from exchanging currency.

Before the revolution, Moataz, like Muayyad was relatively well-off, but events since the start of the revolution changed his situation. In the third year of the revolution and with the United States threatening to bomb in Syria on the eve of the chemical attack, there was considerable inflation in the Syrian Lira, and Moataz made some unexpected gains. “I had a lot of gold, and the price of a gram of gold rose exponentially, I sold all the gold I had and gained large sums of money.”

“After a few weeks, the Dollar fell against the [Syrian] Lira and here I bought thousands of Dollars,” he continued. “The difference in currency was so large that I managed to double my wealth several times,” Moataz explained. 

Moataz’s story is a model of how traditional methods of saving have changed in the liberated areas of Idlib which are relatively calmer than other areas in Syria. In contrast, areas of intense conflict which residents were forced to flee from present another model. 

Muayyad the carpet stores owner in Damascus countryside went bankrupt at the end of the second year of the revolution. He was living in an area of intense conflict in Damascus countryside and was forced to flee without taking anything with him. He was unable to take any of his gold with him due to the stringent surveillance at checkpoints and the fear of being robbed by soldiers at checkpoints. Years later, when the fighting in his town receded, Muayyad managed to return to his house only to find that his gold was gone. 

Muayyad spoke with much pain and sorrow, “All wealth that I had saved over the years from my hard work went like the wind.” 

He added, “Now I am working as a daily laborer in a carpet shop after I was a master in my business.” (Reporting by Mohamed Kassah)
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