BEIRUT — Fuel Distributors Syndicate head Fadi Abou Chakra said in an interview with local radio station VDL Thursday that “[fuel] subsidies will remain in effect for two months,” while long lines continued to form at gas stations amid their open ended strike.
Here’s what we know:
• Abou Chakra said “what happened yesterday is that [Banque Du Liban] stopped working with Sayrafa and the instrument used to subsidize the cost of fuel by 85% stopped. The instrument and scheduling changed, so yesterday we called on Prime Minister [Najib] Mikati and the Energy Minister to find a solution and the matter was addressed within cabinet and subsidies were said to continue for two months. This morning, there are numerous meetings to find the appropriate subsidy instrument and hopefully within a few hours the issue will be resolved.”
• Long lines formed at gas stations across Lebanon Thursday. On Wednesday, the Gas Station Owners’ Syndicate announced an open-ended strike, which they said stemmed from an issue with fuel distributors and their demand to be paid in “fresh dollars,” said Syndicate spokesman George Brax, who claimed that gas station owners suffer a loss of 35,000 per 20 liters of gasoline.
• In an interview with Lebanon’s Al-Jadeed television Wednesday, Abou Chakra said that they weren’t able to obtain the funds necessary “from banks, or Sayrafa” to pay entirely at the Sayrafa rate, as BDL had asked fuel importers to do, according to the syndicate head. Abou Chakra explained that previously, “BDL used to cover 85% of the costs in lira and 15% used to be paid in US dollars by gas stations, the 85% being at the Sayrafa rate.”