BEIRUT — The caretaker cabinet on Tuesday raised the minimum wage for private sector workers in Lebanon to LL9 million from LL2.6 million, as the country continues to suffer from an unprecedented economic crisis that has lasted more than three years.
In a press conference, caretaker Information Minister Ziad Makari also announced the temporary increase of civil servants salaries and wages, which will come into effect as of May 1.
Civil servants will receive a supplement equivalent to 4 times their basic salary applicable before the entry into force of the State budget for 2022. Since the start of the year, they have received a supplement equivalent to two basic salaries.
In concrete terms, this means multiplying the basic salary by 7, provided that the employee is present at work at least 14 days a month.
According to the official government statement, this supplement of 4 basic salaries must not be less than 8 million Lebanese lira nor more than 50 million lira (respectively $82.5 and $515).
Civil servants have the right to withdraw their salaries in dollars at a more advantageous exchange rate, in accordance with the mechanism set up by the BDL via circular no. 161.
For retired civil servants, the supplement granted is equivalent to three times the basic salary. They had been increased in the same proportions as active civil servants in the 2022 budget. Same rates for the military, with a minimum threshold of 7 million lira.
During the ongoing economic crisis, the Lira, which public sector employees are paid in, has lost more than 98 percent of its value. As of Tuesday, the Lira is being exchanged around LL97,000 against the dollar on the parallel market after it was LL1.500 against the dollar prior to the crisis.
Cabinet also decided to raise the transportation fee for public workers to LL450,000 per day from LL95,000 and to LL250,000 per day for private sector employees. The salaries of all security members including the Lebanese Army will be multiplied by three and the same raise will apply to the public sector retirees.
In its session, the cabinet also decided to give the health ministry $35 million per month from the IMF's Special Drawing Rights which were given to Lebanon following the COVID 19 outbreak to cover the cost of subsidized chronic diseases medicines.
The cabinet has not taken any decision on the "emergency bill" included in the agenda to amend two provisions of the Code of Money and Credit: Article 5, which lists the current coins and denominations and Article 47, which states that the Banque du Liban has the exclusive prerogative to issue money - a prerogative granted by the State.
During its session, cabinet also discussed securing the funding for the municipality elections, a task assigned to caretaker Interior Minister Bassam Mawlawi to be sorted before a session expected next week.
The cabinet also granted Lebanese Citizenship to American basketball player Omari Spellman, allowing him to play with the Lebanese National Basketball Team which qualified for the 2023 World Cup. Granting Lebanese citizenship is normally a prerogative of the president of the Republic, but the presidential seat has been vacant since October 2022.
In previous years, Lebanon has consistently reserved one spot on its team for a non-Lebanese player. This was the case in the 2022 Asia cup in which Lebanon won 2nd place.
In a press conference, caretaker Information Minister Ziad Makari also announced the temporary increase of civil servants salaries and wages,...