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Finance Minister Mohammad Safadi criticized the cabinet on Thursday and said that intervened “more than it should” concerning the increase in the minimum wage.

“As a state, we should not intervene more than setting guidelines for the minimum wage. We intervened more than we should, but this was requested by all sides,” he told Voice of Lebanon

“The increase concerns the private sector for now. The decision does not say that anyone whose salary is more than 1.8 million LL does not deserve a raise, but this raise should be discussed between the employee and his employer,” Safadi added.

PM Nagib Mikati on Tuesday agreed to raise the minimum wage from 500,000 LL to 700,000 L.L, and to raise wages of up to 1 million L.L by 200,000 L.L and wages ranging from 1 million to 1,8 million L.L. by 300,000 L.L. The cabinet approved the wage increases on Wednesday during its meeting at the Baabda palace.

Wages above 1.8 million were not discussed and this reportedly caused an outrage within the teacher’s union who vowed to go on strike next week to demand wage increase

Due to demands of the General Workers Union, the cabinet decided on Tuesday night to raise the minimum wage from 500,000 LL to 700,000 LL, add an amount of 200,000 LL to wages up to 1,000,000 LL and 300,000 LL to wages ranging from 1,000,000 to 1,800,000 LL.

The economic committees voiced their reservation over the cabinet’s decision and the GWU suspended the strike that was planned for October 12.

The finance minister also addressed the issue of tax increases.

“I want to clarify what was said about adding taxes to gas prices. This is a political [rumor] which was mentioned in newspapers and I don’t know its source. I did not mention any raise to gas [taxes],” he added.

Safadi also said that the increase to the Value Added Tax (VAT) will provide the government with 550 billion LL annually and benefit the Lebanese people.

On Tuesday, Change and Reform bloc leader MP Michel Aoun voiced his rejection to any increases to gas taxes or the VAT.

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