Lebanon Businessnews News

Traders call for sending salary scale to IMF
Funding the raise should be secured gradually
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The Beirut Traders Association (BTA) called on the Cabinet to refer the salary scale draft law to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for validation before implementing it.

Mohamad Choucair, president of the Chamber of Commerce, Industry, and Agriculture of Beirut (CCIAB) last week said that the IMF and the World Bank have criticized the wage increase for public sector employees.

“After the Cabinet insisted on adopting the salary scale despite the warnings from economic associations, it has to abide by a set of conditions to contain the negative impact of the new scale,” the BTA said. It said the draft should be revised by Audit Bureau, as well as the relevant Parliamentary committees.

The BTA said the Cabinet must secure the funding of the scale gradually, according to the timeframe it has set for paying the raise, between 2013 and 2017. It also called for updating and implementing the 1990s plan to reform public administration.

“Bill collection must be improved, and all forms of tax evasion must be pursued and halted,” the BTA said. Reports on evasion of customs fees emerged lately. The cost of these violations at the Port of Beirut alone was estimated at around $700 million.

The BTA called for imposing higher fees on violations of public property, like coastal areas, and natural resources, such as stone quarries. It urged the Cabinet to refrain from adding taxes on consumption, investment, foreign trade, income, profits, bank interests, real estate, and official procedures. The BTA warned the Cabinet against “amending any fundamental laws, like banking secrecy.”
Reported by Hanadi Chami
Date Posted: Oct 16, 2012
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