Lawmakers attend a Parliament session in Beirut, July 18, 2017. (The Daily Star/HO)
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Parliament Tuesday passed the public sector's salary hike bill after five years during a heated legislative session marred by shouting matches between lawmakers, overriding opposition from banks and business leaders and a warning from the private sector of negative effects on the ailing economy if the motion was approved.During a morning and evening session chaired by Speaker Nabih Berri, MPs endorsed all 38 articles relating to the bill, including salary adjustments and social benefits for civil servants, reforms and an 85 percent hike in pensions for retired employees that will raise the cost of the salary scale bill, now estimated at LL1.2 trillion ($800 million) annually.Berri has called on Parliament to meet in a general two-day legislative session Tuesday and Wednesday to study and ratify some 30 draft laws and proposals, with the salary scale bill listed as the first item on the agenda.Of the 38 articles in the salary scale, 20 were approved in the morning session.These include raising the value added tax from 10 to 11 percent, increasing taxes on the interest of bank deposits from 5 to 7 percent, increasing taxes on companies' profits from 15 to 17 percent, putting a 15 percent tax on profits from real estate transactions and implementing a 4 percent fee on the import of kerosene.
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