Caretaker Minister of Finance Youssef El Khalil assures that the promised wage increases, social benefits, and basic salaries will be paid. In an interview with This is Beirut, he stated that Parliament will convene to consider the allocation of credit lines for this purpose.

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“There’s no need to panic,” said Caretaker Minister of Finance Youssef El Khalil in an interview with This is Beirut. “Civil servants will be paid,” he stated, “salary increases, promised social benefits, and basic salaries will be disbursed by the end of June. The Parliament will meet to approve opening credit lines for this purpose.”

“During the Council of Ministers meeting held on Friday, we issued a warning in case the Parliament were to fail to convene to discuss this matter. We have set June as the deadline.” He further explained that all parties agree that a parliamentary session must be held to address necessary measures regarding public service salaries.

Regarding the withdrawal of civil servants’ salaries at the previous preferential rate of LBP 66,000 on the Banque du Liban’s Sayrafa platform, the Minister emphasized that from now on, the Sayrafa rate will be equally applied to all at LBP 86,300 per US dollar (as of May 30th).

Under Circular No. 161, adopted at the end of 2021, the Banque du Liban had already granted civil servants the opportunity to withdraw their salaries in dollars at a more favorable exchange rate than the one offered by Sayrafa.

No parliamentary meeting, no salaries

It is important to highlight that last Friday, after a meeting of the caretaker government, the caretaker Minister of Information Ziad Makari announced that starting from June, the Lebanese government would be unable to fulfill its commitments regarding wage increases, social benefits, and salaries for civil servants unless the Parliament convenes to approve the opening of credit lines for this purpose.

Furthermore, the Council of Ministers has chosen to pay civil servants the full amount of the additional allowances that were approved for the month of May. Public administrations have been instructed to provide the Ministry of Finance with the working days of each employee.

Fuel expenses exceed salary

Simultaneously, the Federation of Civil Servants has called for a two-week strike starting from Monday, May 29th, until June 12th. They are requesting an improvement in the salary conditions for all civil servants, despite the approval of a fourfold increase in public sector salaries on April 18th, in addition to the two previously approved raises. The increase is conditional upon attendance at work for 14 consecutive days per month.

The transportation allowance had been set at LBP 450,000 per day, provided that attendance does not exceed 18 days per month.

The inflation and depreciation of the Lebanese pound have led to a significant reduction in civil servants’ salaries, despite continued increases. They are now considering whether it would make sense to drive to work, as fuel costs could exceed their monthly salary. In an interview with This is Beirut, a civil servant said that he couldn’t live on these salaries anymore, even after recent adjustments. “Going to work no longer makes sense, especially considering the soaring fuel prices,” he said. The unfortunate situation of civil servants has exacerbated the public sectors’ deterioration, a sector which requires comprehensive and qualitative reforms.