Cars Queue for Fuel as Customs Strike Sparks Shortage Fears
Lines of cars were seen queuing outside fuel stations in Lebanon on Monday as a customs strike threatened to spark a shortage crisis.
A statement issued by the union of companies that import oil to Lebanon meanwhile said the firms have failed to deliver new stocks to gas stations due to the strike of customs employees.
Urging officials to spare this “vital sector” the repercussions of supply interruptions, the union warned that some fuel stations will not be able to receive supplies as of Tuesday.
“This will create confusion and disturbance among the ranks of citizens, who will suffer greatly,” the union warned.
Customs sources meanwhile told LBCI television that the customs employees will suspend their strike on Tuesday.
In early May, a strike by the employees of Banque du Liban had threatened a similar crisis.
Large segments of civil servants are protesting plans to slash their benefits as part of a new austerity package being studied by Cabinet ahead of this year's budget.
Lebanon has vowed to slash public spending to unlock $11 billion worth of aid pledged by international donors during an April 2018 conference in Paris.
Last month, Prime Minister Saad Hariri vowed to introduce "the most austere budget in Lebanon's history" to combat the country's bulging fiscal deficit, sparking fears among public sector employees that their salaries may be cut.
Lebanon is one of the world's most indebted countries, with public debt estimated at 141 percent of GDP in 2018, according to credit ratings agency Moody's.