Lebanon News

Lebanon lawmakers promise to back wage hike despite hurdles

The Parliament building in Beirut, Thursday, April 6, 2017. (The Daily Star/Mohammad Azakir)

BEIRUT: Lebanese lawmakers Sunday promised to back the long-anticipated salary scale bill, when it comes up for discussion in the legislative session scheduled for Tuesday.

“The endorsement of the salary scale must not be postponed any further,” Amal Movement MP Yassin Jaber was quoted as saying by the state-run National News Agency Sunday, in a meeting with south Lebanon educators in south Lebanon’s Nabatieh.

The bill, which has languished in Parliament since 2012, has faced mounting opposition from the banking sector and business leaders over proposed taxes to fund salary increases.

Jaber emphasized his party’s commitment to the endorsement of the bill, which is estimated to cost the state LL1.2 trillion ($800 million).

“It is a right for employees, teachers and servicemen,” Jaber said, calling for agreement among parliamentary blocs regarding the funding of the wage hike.

But some lawmakers oppose the proposed taxes to fund the salary increases, especially if the veterans’ demands for increased pensions are to be met.

For his part, Lebanese Forces MP Fadi Karam told Voice of Lebanon radio (93.3) on Sunday that his party supports Parliament’s endorsement of the hike. He called for further deliberations on the sources of funding for the veterans’ salary scale.

Karam said that members of parliamentary blocs would meet Monday with Finance Minister Ali Hasan Khalil to discuss and potentially agree on the new hike.

 

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