Industrialists warn against economic slowdown
“Wage increase should be paired with basket of incentives for production”
The Association of Lebanese Industrialists (ALI) warned that the local economy, mainly the industrial sector, will undergo a painstaking slowdown on the backdrop of the Cabinet decision to increase salaries.
The ALI expected exports to drop as low as zero by the end of the year.
The ALI said that the government is only entitled to raise the minimum wage. “It is a global convention that the State does not interfere in determining the salaries of workers (who earn above the minimum wage) according to the freedom of contract norm,” the ALI said. It said that the wage increase decree should come within a basket of incentives for production.
“The State should give us incentives so that we could boost our production and make up for at least fifty percent of the new wage payments,” said Ziad Bekdache, the Vice President of the ALI. He said that the Minister of Labor Charbel Nahas said that he would cancel the nine percent health insurance fee, which employers pay for each employee. Other incentives are to lower the income tax.
“We already pay for transportation fees and education tuitions each year because the State fails to adopt a decent public transport plan, and rehabilitate public schools,” he said. Bekdache disclosed that employers and business leaders across the country will hold a broad meeting on Thursday (October 20) at BIEL.
The ALI voiced reservation over the proposed 2012 budget plan which it dubbed as part of “a large-scale austerity policy”. It rejected “any rushed and purposeless tax increase”.
Date Posted: Oct 14, 2011