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Jarrah: Govt. to Finalize Budget Friday, BDL Very Responsive

May 09

Jarrah: Govt. to Finalize Budget Friday, BDL Very Responsive

The government intends to finalize the draft state budget on Friday and Banque du Liban is very responsive regarding the slashing of salaries, Information Minister Jamal al-Jarrah said.

'Discussions will be continued tomorrow in order to look into the ministries' budgets,' he added, after a cabinet session.

'The ministries of interior and defense will present a study to address the situations of security institutions, but eventually we will finalize all issues related to security agencies,' Jarrah went on to say.

As for Banque du Liban, the minister said its employees have a special law but noted that BDL is 'among the institutions that are the most responsive in terms of cooperating with the government and the lowering of salaries.'

A several-day strike by the employees of the central bank had sparked fears of cash and fuel shortage crises in the country before being suspended until Friday.

Central bank employees say they are protesting a decision to slash their benefits as part of a new austerity package being studied by Cabinet ahead of this year's budget.

Other public sector employees have resorted to similar measures against possible austerity measures in recent weeks.

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.