Revised Cost of Living Index
New system will facilitate wages calculation
The International Monetary Fund, in collaboration with representatives from the economic associations and the Central Administration for Statistics (CAS), agreed to review and modernize the mechanisms involved in calculating the Cost of Living Index.
In addition to adopting international standards in modifying the index, statistics will be computerized in order to decrease the margin of error in the work of auditors.
Nicolas Chammas, President of the Beirut Traders Association, said: “This project will increase transparency and we will start working on making adjustments starting 2014.”
Adjustments mainly concern the sectors of transportation, education, rents, and telecommunications.
The cost of education will list the costs of school transportation, stationery, and books separately.
Chammas said a housing index will be issued monthly starting next year. Property ownership and rental costs will be separated. The index will distinguish between old and new rents. It will separate rent costs in the capital from those in suburbs and the five remaining governorates.
Air, land, and maritime transport will be listed separately. The index will also distinguish between the public and private transportation sectors.
Ghassan Ghosn, president of the General Confederation of Labor Unions, said: “Adopting international standards will help calculate the rate of inflation and its impact on wages more accurately. This could accelerate the process of correcting wages.”
Ghosn said that the current cost of living index makes it difficult to calculate wages of employees based on the costs of transportation and housing.
The European Union will also offer machines and control systems designed to monitor the retail price of items sold locally and prevent abuses.
Reported by Joelle Nassar
Date Posted: Nov 11, 2013