Aoun Says Wage Scale Must Balance between 'Rights, Economic Stability'


President Michel Aoun announced Wednesday that he is studying the new wage scale bill that was recently approved and referred to him by Parliament.

“The stance must balance between rights and economic stability,” Aoun told a delegation from the Economic Committees – a coalition of Lebanon's business leaders.

“A conflict of interest between the various segments of society would lead to social disturbances and the flaw must be rectified,” the president added.

MP Alain Aoun of the Change and Reform bloc founded by President Aoun had announced Tuesday that “the wage scale needs an amendment of some of its articles.”

“There are two solutions: either the entire wage scale would be returned (by the president to Parliament) or the amendments would be discussed and approved,” the MP added.

Kataeb Party chief MP Sami Gemayel has recently called on President Aoun not to sign the tax law and to return it to the legislature, warning of a possible “economic disaster.”

“The president has the ability to stop the crime that will be committed against the Lebanese people and economy,” Gemayel warned.

He cautioned that the taxes that have been approved would lower citizens' purchasing power “by 10 to 20%” and would also push “more than 100,000 citizens below the poverty line,” citing studies by the American University of Beirut.

Gemayel also quoted Father Butros Azar, the secretary general of Catholic schools, as saying that school tuitions would rise an average of 27%.

“The prices of apartments will also rise and our youths will suffer,” the young MP cautioned.

The new taxes involve hiking the VAT tax from 10% to 11%, fines on seaside violations, and taxes on cement, administrative transactions, sea imports, lottery prizes, financial firms and banks.

Authorities have argued that the new taxes are necessary to fund the new wage scale but opponents of such a move have called for finding new revenues through putting an end to corruption and the waste of public money.