MP Ibrahim Kanaan speaks at the Parliament in Beirut, June 13, 2019. (The Daily Star/Ali Fawaz, HO)
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A measure meant to save the state money could end up costing Lebanon dearly. In the draft budget Cabinet sent to Parliament last month, the ministers agreed to extend a hiring freeze in place since 2017 through 2022, part of a package of reforms meant to control spiraling costs and cut the state's deficit from 11.1 percent of GDP last year to 7.6 percent.The LRA has 195 employees, he says, but the agency needs about 100 more.If the hiring freeze is extended until 2022, the agency may not be able to function at full capacity.The hiring freeze could also affect internet users. In May, Kanaan announced that state institutions had employed more than 5,000 people since the hiring freeze went into effect.However, both the Central Inspection Bureau and Court of Audit are themselves severely understaffed.Today, there are likely around 110,000 government workers -- 10 times as many -- according to the CIB's chief, George Attieh.The Court of Audit, meanwhile, has 33 monitors and 19 investigators, in addition to judges and administrative staff, according to Judge Ahmad Hamdan, the court's head.The hiring freeze may run counter to anti-corruption drives in another way.
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