Lebanon Businessnews News

Business heads move to dismiss new salary scale
Cabinet postpones decision over funding issue
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Private sector representatives have openly called on the Cabinet to scrap the public sector salary scale draft law. Business leaders said their objection was not directed against public sector workers, but rather against any new financial burdens that would come out of it.

“We call on the Cabinet to hold a dialogue to discuss (a scheme) to revive the economy with only one condition: That it rules out the salary scale draft law,” said Mohamad Choucair, chairman of the Chamber of Commerce, Industry, and Agriculture of Beirut and Mount Lebanon.

The Cabinet failed to refer the public sector salary scale draft law to Parliament during its session on Monday (December 10), but said it would continue to discuss sources to fund the new scale.

Minister of Labor Selim Jreissati said the Cabinet would not take any approach that divides the salary scale and its funding sources. “(The scale) will be taken as a single package of measures, which include reforming the salaries in the public sector in line with a set of reformative administrative and financial measures,” he said. The Cabinet is scheduled to hold another session on Wednesday (December 12) to discuss a number of issues, among which the salary scale.

“Any upgrading to the wages of employees amidst recession and fiscal deficit will not only devalue the raise, but will harm the country’s sovereign rating and the interest rates on borrowing, as well as burden private sector institutions,” said former Minister Adnan Kassar, chairman of the private sector’s economic bodies.

According to a study issued by the Ministry of Economy and Trade, adopting the salary raise for public sector employees will cause inflation to grow at a higher rate and result in a higher deficit in the account balance.

The Central Bank had also suggested taking more time for additional studies before finalizing the new salary scale.
Reported by Hanadi Chami
Date Posted: Dec 10, 2012
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