New Wages Scale to Boost Officials' Salaries amid Budget Deficit

Despite the dilemma over the funding of the new wages scale, the salaries hike wasn't limited to public sector employees but also reached the salaries and compensations of the three top presidential posts of the country, the ministers and the parliament members, As Safir newspaper reported on Tuesday.

According to the report, the president, the speaker and the premier will collectively have an increase of around LL 6,200,000 while the ministers and MPs will be allocated around LL4,300,000, where the state's treasury will have to hold a burden of around LL8,300,000,000 each year.

This hike in the officials' salaries raises several questions amid the financial crisis that the country is passing through as the hike is given to them even if they quit their posts.

Economy and Trade Minister Nicolas Nahhas told Voice of Lebanon radio (93.3) that the new wages scale for all public sectors ranged between 40-60 percent.

“It was equally distributed between everyone,” he told the radio station.

Nahhas noted that the government is only concerned about maintaining the country's inflation rate and balance of payments.

“The matter is difficult and complicated as we have never witnessed such a hike in salaries before,” the minister added.

The cabinet approved last week the new salaries scale for public employees ending a long dispute that had prompted the Syndicate Coordination Committee, a coalition of private and public school teachers and public sector employees, to hold several sit-ins and strikes.

The government's wages increase will be retroactive from July 1, 2012, but the salary adjustments would be paid in installments over a period of five years.

The state’s treasury will have more than $1.2 billion to cover as there are over 180,000 public sector employees including military personnel.

The government plans to boost the treasury’s revenue to cover the expenses of the salaries boost through several proposals including the implementation of a hike on taxes on land parcels and sea properties.

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