Report: Diab Disapproves Lifting Subsidies before Food Ration Cards

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Caretaker Prime Minister Hassan Diab refuses lifting subsidies on basic goods in Lebanon before the crisis-stricken country completes the allocation of food ration cards mainly for needy families, media reports said on Thursday.

A draft on financing food ration cards is not complete yet, pending the final approval of Diab, said VDL radio station.

This card is being offered as an alternative to the subsidy on vital commodities (medicine, food, and fuel). But the mechanism of payment has not been decided yet.

The card will be obtained through local banks. However, Diab actually set a condition for running this card. He refuses to have the Central Bank stop subsidies on basic goods before the card reaches at least 600,000 families.

On the other hand, experts believe that Lebanon can save 1.4 billion dollars under a partial subsidy removal out of more than $ 5 billion the Central Bank of Lebanon pays in subsidies.

The value of the card, from which 750 thousand families are supposed to benefit, amounts to one million and 330 thousand Lebanese pounds per month, provided that the family whose members exceed 4 people get one million and 700 thousand pounds per month.

The economic crisis in Lebanon has depleted foreign reserves, prompting stark warnings the Central Bank can no longer finance subsidies of some basic commodities, including fuel.

Source Naharnet

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