BEIRUT — Najib Mikati’s caretaker government will convene Monday at 9:00 am to discuss a series of “pressing” matters that need to be settled, a statement from the Grand Serail said Friday.
According to the agenda published with the invitation calling on ministers to attend the meeting, the cabinet will consider releasing funds to pay public servants' salaries on the basis of the constitutional budget deadline extension rule.
According to the Lebanese constitution, the state is granted an additional month to adopt an annual budget if MPs fail to agree on its text before Dec. 31.
During the additional month, expenditures and revenues are executed in the same way as in January of the previous year.
The budget for the fiscal year 2023 has not yet reached the draft stage, which must be prepared by the Finance Ministry before being presented to the cabinet.
Salaries for civil servants are expected to be the same as in the 2022 budget, which multiplied salaries of the previous years by three, based on the old fixed exchange rate of LL1,507.5 to the dollar.
The adjustment of transportation allowances for military and General Security personnel, whose salaries' lost over 97 percent of its value since the economic crisis began three years ago, will also be discussed.
The exemption of certain medication from customs taxes will also be on the agenda, according to the statement.
The caretaker government also suggested lending state-owned telecommunication company, Ogero, a sum of money from the state treasury, to cover the salaries of its employees who have protested on and off in recent months in demand of higher wages.
The ministers are also expected to discuss the High Commission for Relief's request to survey infrastructure damaged by the earthquake and other natural factors.
Cabinet meetings in the midst of the presidential vacuum are controversial since several parties, mainly the Free Patriotic Movement and the Lebanese Forces, argue that the absence of an acting president has unfairly placed presidential powers in the hands of the caretaker Prime Minister.
Mikati has argued that the aim of the cabinet meetings has been to discuss urgent issues Lebanon faces.
During the last three meetings, cabinet approved several measures, including the allocation of aid to the education system and health care.