Syrian unrest means shortages, uncertainty for Ramtha businesses
Reported by Khetam Malkawi | Dec 21,2011 | 00:27
Shopowners in Ramtha say their businesses are suffering due to the ongoing turmoil in Syria (JT file photo)
RAMTHA — The ongoing turmoil in Syria is hurting businesses in the northern border city of Ramtha, according to shop owners, drivers and residents interviewed by The Jordan Times.
Drivers who make their living travelling between Ramtha and the neighbouring Syrian city of Daraa, mainly to bring goods from across the border where they are cheaper, said they are no longer able to make the trip to the neighbouring country.
These drivers, who number around 700, now consider themselves jobless, and do not even attempt to cross the border due to the difficulties they now face at checkpoints.
“Even if we tried to cross the border again, shop owners in Daraa have closed their stores and our trips would be pointless,” one driver who declined to give his name, told The Jordan Times recently.
Murad Makhadmeh, a supermarket owner in Ramtha said his business is losing money because he depends on Syrian products.
“I still have some goods, but I had to raise prices because I only have some items in storage and there is high demand for them,” he noted, adding that even if he runs out of inventory, he will not sell Jordanian products because they are too expensive for him to make a profit.
The shopkeeper explained that most residents of the northern region used to travel to Ramtha to buy Syrian products at low prices, but with the shortage of goods, customers are no longer coming.
Abu Mumen, a shoe seller, said he is facing the same problem.
“I have to find another market to import shoes. Residents of Ramtha are used to buying everything at low prices, but now we do not have any products to sell,” he said, adding that if the unrest in Syria continues, some businesses in the border town will eventually close down.
“Not all shop owners and merchants can turn to other markets, and in this case they will close their shops,” he noted.
Ramtha resident Nadia Ahmad said she used to buy all of her household goods from Syria.
“Cleaning products, clothes and everything I use at home is from Syria,” she said.
“I still can find some of these products in the market, but at higher prices.”
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