Lawmakers attend a Parliament session in Beirut, Friday, June 16, 2017. (The Daily Star/Mohammad Azakir)
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The way is not cleared yet for Parliament's approval of the public sector's wage hike bill due to political and financial hurdles, a number of lawmakers said Monday, painting a gloomy outlook of salary increases eagerly awaited by civil servants for more than five years.Aoun added that the problem of generating revenues to finance the salary scale bill, estimated by Finance Minister Ali Hasan Khalil at $800 million annually, has not been solved yet. The proposed taxes triggered street protests by labor unions and civil society groups in March, while a split among lawmakers over financing the salary scale bill thwarted a Parliament session, putting the bill into jeopardy. Speaker Nabih Berri said last week the salary scale bill would be the first item, in addition to the 2017 draft state budget, on the agenda of a Parliament session expected to be held in the second half of this month.Commenting on the planned legislative session, MP Ibrahim Kanaan from the FPM, who heads the parliamentary Budget and Finance Committee, said "several mines" need to be removed before the salary scale motion could be approved by Parliament. MP Kamel Rifai from Hezbollah's parliamentary bloc warned that differences among the parties over the financing of the salary scale bill might further delay the legislative session beyond July 15 .
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