Cabinet to Hold Emergency Session on Wage Scale after Hariri Contacts
Intensive political contacts by Prime Minister Saad Hariri led to an agreement on holding an emergency cabinet session Monday at the Grand Serail to discuss the repercussions of the Constitutional Council's repeal of a tax law aimed at funding the new wage scale, the PM's office said on Friday.
The office noted that Hariri had canceled all his meetings as of Friday afternoon to hold intensive talks over the Council's ruling.
Earlier in the day, the Constitutional Council unanimously annulled the tax hike law aimed at funding the wage scale whose beneficiaries are civil servants and the armed forces. The ruling followed an appeal filed by 10 MPs led by Kataeb Party chief Sami Gemayel.
“The decision will not affect the wage scale" and civil servants and the armed forces will receive their September salaries based on the new wages lists, a Council member told reporters.
Asked about the sources to fund the salary scale, he said: “The government has heaps of money, it can manage.”
The revoked taxes involved hiking the VAT tax from 10% to 11%, fines on seaside violations, and taxes on cement, administrative transactions, sea imports, lottery prizes, tobacco, alcohol, travel tickets, financial firms and banks.
Authorities had argued that the new taxes were necessary to fund the new wage scale but opponents of such a move called for finding new revenues through putting an end to corruption and the waste of public money.