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Lebanon to fully lift subsidies end of September

This picture shows a Coral petrol station in the Lebanese capital Beirut, on August 19, 2021. - The key oil company in Lebanon said today it would stop supplying its gas stations with fuel amid severe shortages that have brought the crisis-hit country to a halt. (Photo by ANWAR AMRO / AFP)

BEIRUT: The caretaker Cabinet and the Central Bank allocated $225 million for the purchase of gasoline, diesel and gas and pledged to totally lift the subsidies at the end of September to give the authorities a chance to issue the long-awaited ration card to 750,000 families

The decision came during an emergency meeting at Baabda Palace headed by President Michel Aoun.

A government source told The Daily Star that the participants in the meeting agreed to alter the exchange rate platform for fuel and diesel from LL3,900 to LL8,000, adding that this is only a temporary measure to prepare for the total lifting of the subsidies.

He added that based on the new rates, the price of 20 liters gasoline will be Ll127,000 while diesel be wilLL110,000 in the market.

The source stressed that BDL’s reserves would not be touched.

The oil importing companies will start delivering gasoline and diesel as of today and until the end of September of this year.

The source stressed that the Lebanese Army will escort the gasoline and diesel trucks from the distribution points to the gas stations to ensure that the fuel does not end up in the black market.

A statement from the presidential palace said Finance Ministry’s proposal was approved to request that Central Bank open a temporary account to cover the fuel subsidy, at the value of the difference between the dollar exchange rate on the “exchange” platform and the price approved in the price-installation table, set at LL8,000, provided that these differences are paid from the 2022 budget.

It was also agreed to amend the temporary transfer compensation stipulated in Law No. 266 dated 10/23/1993 and specified by Decree No. 538 dated 10/14/2008 to become LL24,000.

The officials also agreed to give emergency social assistance equal to the basis of the monthly salary or pension without any increases of any kind or designation to be paid in two equal payments, and this includes all public administration employees regardless of their job titles.

The meeting also stressed the need for coordination among ministries, departments, and relevant judicial, security and military agencies, the themin order to prevent the storage or monopoly of gasoline, diesel and domestic gas materials, or the exploitation of the existing stock to achieve illegal profits.

The finance minister was also tasked with preparing a study to examine the possibility of including emergency social assistance for employees in public institutions and municipal employees, provided that it is disbursed at that time in accordance with the rules that take care of each public administration.

The “Zoom” meeting was also attended by caretaker Prime Minister Hassan Diab, caretaker Finance Minister Ghazi Wazni and Central Bank Governor Riad Salameh, and with the participation of caretaker Energy and Water Minister Raymond Ghajar.

 

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