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Thursday, Oct 06, 2022

Lebanese Telecommunications Ministry requests treasury advance amid strike

Lebanese Telecommunications Ministry requests treasury advance amid strike

Lebanon’s Ministry of Telecommunications requested a treasury advance from the Ministry of Finance to avoid the repercussions of its employees’ strike that began last week.
The strike has resulted in interruptions to landlines, mobile phones and internet services for millions of Lebanese citizens. Key services at hospitals, security and military facilities were also disrupted.

Caretaker Communications Minister Johnny Korm has signed for a treasury advance of around 200 billion Lebanese pounds ($7.14 million) from the 2022 budget reserves. The process awaits the signature of the minister of finance and the prime minister.

The fund request aims to meet the demands of the employees of the state-owned telecom company Ogero.

According to Elie Zeitouni, head of Ogero’s union, the employees are asking for an increase in transportation allowance and social assistance.

“We are on the people’s side and do not intend to harm them,” Zeitouni said. “However, we will not suspend the strike until we receive a response from the communications minister on Thursday about the legality of meeting our demand for an increase in wages.”

The judges’ strike has been ongoing for a week, disrupting public prosecutions and paralyzing the work of security services.

State employees have not gone to their offices throughout the week because of transport costs, which are not covered by their salaries, which have lost their value in light of the economic collapse.

The Ministry of Finance has called upon various ministries to review their revenues. A meeting will be held on Thursday to analyze and decide on the assistance required for the security forces, education sector, the judiciary and public institutions, said caretaker Social Affairs Minister Hector Hajjar.

Meanwhile, in a speech to his supporters on Sunday night, Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea described President Michel Aoun as “the weakest president in Lebanon’s history.”

Aoun “sacrificed his people and nation for his personal gain,” said Geagea. “We want a president who challenges our harsh reality.”

He added: “We want a president who will challenge smuggling, smugglers, owners of Captagon factories in Lebanon, and all those who cover and protect them.”

The Forces of Change bloc of deputies demanded the election of a new president. They announced in a press conference that the current political scene in Lebanon has “destroyed the sovereignty of the state, after obliterating our Arab relations and implicating us in external problems.”

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