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British Plan Raises Doubts, STL Has Necessary Funding For One Year

British Plan Raises Doubts, STL Has Necessary Funding For One Year
folder_openToday's News access_time8 years ago
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Zeinab Essa

It was rumored that in my country, Lebanon, that there is no place for economic optimism and here is some of the unfortunate facts.


The attack on any dream or economic plan is ready and the victim is, as usual, the
citizen.


The government approved the wage increase but in the country of wonders as the angel of income increase appeared to the scene, it was faced by a hysterical
increase of prices.


This at a time when strikes dates are escalating and the government is racing
time to follow up the lively issues.


Gov't Approves Wages despite Pressure


The Lebanese government approved Wednesday the wage increase that was discussed earlier Tuesday despite opposition voices from inside and outside the
ministerial council.


The government, which met at Baabda Presidential Palace, insisted that the salary and benefits package it had agreed would be endorsed without amendments.

Information Minister Walid Daouk informed reporters that the government will sign a decree calling on the public and private sectors to observe the salary increases as well as the new transportation and education allowances.

"We will sign the decree once the committee completes drafting the full text," the
minister said.


Daouq pointed out that Prime Minister Najib Mikati "stressed that passing the wage increase is a basic step to resolve the social issue in Lebanon," adding that "this decision will be accompanied with a number of measures to prevent the
increase on the price of goods."


"Mikati will hold talks with the economic committees in order to implement the decisions that were taken," the minister informed.


"An-Nahar" Lebanese daily quoted ministerial sources that said "the wage increase will be implemented without any amendments upon the promulgation of the relevant decree."


According to the daily sources, "the Ministry of Finance has started looking into the increase in the public sector in order to prepare a draft law for scheduling this increase, which would be similar to the one implemented in the private sector except the fact that it will not be limited by the ceiling of 1,800,000 LL."


For its part, "as-Safir" newspaper reported that "the government made its decision under the strike threat," adding that "ministers learnt of some reports regarding potential road blocking and tire burning, and the PM wanted to avoid that."


Labor Minister Charbel Nahhas told "as-Safir" that he would go ahead with drafting salary decree and would refer it to the government.


"The decree would be in harmony with the government's decision despite our objections to it," he said.


"The settlement reached Mikati on the wage boost was similar to a time bomb that targeted the majority forces, syndicates and laborers who suffered the biggest disappointment since the salary raises started in the 1970s," Nahhas
added.


Meanwhile, the economic committees wished upon Mikati to recant the wage increase decision.


"The Union Coordination Committee held an emergency meeting, as a result of which it categorically rejected the Council of Ministers' wage increase decision because it amounts to a humiliating and wrecking decision all at once, as it leads to sharp differences among employees and disregards hierarchy and seniority at
work," "as-Safir" mentioned.


The Union Coordination Committee called on its member committees to meet in order to discuss the recommendation regarding a comprehensive general strike next Wednesday and the organization of a central protest on the same day in
front of the Grand Serail.


Doubtful British Plan


At another level, "al-Akhbar" mentioned Thursday that a British plan suddenly appeared in Baabda Palace of Wednesday.


The goal of this plan, according to a statement of the British Embassy is "to support Lebanon's stability by:


-First: Increasing the British training for the Lebanese army and internal security forces in face of external threats.


- Second, to help protect the Lebanese financial sector of the repercussions of international sanctions taken against Syria.


-Third, to support the reforms needed to increase economic growth and more foreign investments, including the electricity sector, and Internet service, and the law of trade."


"However, sources working in the Lebanese banking industry warned that the target of the British plan is to perform type of custody to the banking business in Lebanon under the pretext of protection thus tightening the siege on Syria," the
paper stressed.


Von Hebel: STL Has Needed Funding for This Year


In parallel, Special Tribunal for Lebanon Registrar Herman Von Hebel told "al-Akhbar" Lebanese daily that"the STL still has the funding it needs for the rest
of the current year."


"My talks with many Lebanese officials gave me the impression that financing will not be a problem," he added.


Hoping that Lebanon will pay before the end of October," Von Hebel also predicted that "the STL's mandate will be smoothly extended next spring based upon a decision by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon."


Source: Lebanese newspapers, Translated and Edited by moqawama.org

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