Can the Price Increase and Drop in the Living Standard Be Curbed?


Can the Price Increase and Drop in the Living Standard Be Curbed?

Question: In December 2013 the petrol price grew in Azerbaijan. Do you expect rise in prices for essentials, public utilities and transport in 2014? Can the citizens and the public in general somehow step in deciding on price hike?
Matanat Azizova, Head of Women’s Crisis Center
The petrol prices soared in Azerbaijan. Obviously, this will lead to increase in prices for public utilities, transport and living essentials.
We have already undergone this stage in Azerbaijan. The petrol prices went up, and following that, the prices for various commodities were raised, having a bearing on the standards of living.
The domestic situation evolved to the level when the public opinion is disregarded. Even if the people rally against price rising, they will be dispersed by the police. The authorities will not accept petitions signed by citizens, they will not be even considered. The government, however, does not take into account the problems of the citizens.
Ilham Shaban, Director, Center for Oil Studies
In December 2013 the government raised the petrol prices. It did not explain the reason of the rising, but only stated that the fuel prices had not risen during almost six years.
In 2014 the budget gap will make $ 2 billion sharp. In order to meet the deficit, the government took this unpopular action – increased the fuel prices in the home market. The step will have a knock-on effect, as the raised fuel price will prompt to raise prices for almost everything after a certain period of time. In its turn, taxes will gradually be raised. By doing so, the government will successfully take down the budget gap, although will never admit it. 
It is reasonable to expect increase of the prices for public transport; it may happen in the 2nd quarter or in the middle of the current year. The issue is already brought to the agenda – the government is going to introduce uniform travel cards, but it will never admit that this step is directly related to the increase of fuel prices. In the mid of the current year the national economy will change…inflation, income, expenses, everything will change. We will see a different Azerbaijan, which will not resemble Azerbaijanbefore December 2013.
Leyla Aliyeva, political expert
The increase of the petrol prices will definitely provoke increase of other prices, first of all, for public utilities and essentials.
The public utilities have a big share in the family budget. These expenses will soar much more. There are families with huge debts, because the utility prices do not match the family budget.
Usually increased food prices, after increased petrol prices, stir a big social instability. This may involve social protests and even unrests, no matter how tightly the government controls.
Definitely, the people can influence decisions touching the vital issues. This will require the active stand of the citizens. They can start writing petitions, having their say in an organized form. There are lots of civilized forms of protest practices used by democratic nations – from appeals to their voted parliamentarian to appeals to the president. The more people express their position, the more chances are for favorable outcome.


30 January, 2014
Right after the New Year, the citizens of Armenia were shocked by the gas and electricity bills for December.

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