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Livelihoods: Disruptions in fuel, bread & electricity supplies, salaries drop 60% in purchasing power

10-1-2020

The fuel crisis returned, as announced the chief of owners of petrol station, George Brax, who warned of closure as a result of the continuing price hikes corresponding to the exchange rate of the US dollar which reached yesterday LBP 2350. He said fuel companies want to withdraw from the former arrangement threatening to impose 15% of the price of fuel in hard currency. Recalling, that in December 2019, the owners of petrol stations agreed to deduct a provisional value of LBP 475 of the royalty for each petrol plate in order to repay the full price of fuel in the Lebanese lira. On a related front, the head of the union of bakeries, Kazem Ibrahim, described as an ‘assault against the sector the monitoring by the Consumer Protection Authority of the price and weight of bread in Lebanese bakeries. He threatened of immediate suspension of work should any owner of a retail bakery be summoned to court. Meanwhile, An Nahar daily wrote that the electricity cuts are getting worse pointing to what the minister of energy said yesterday that the coming couple of days could be very difficult but that the electric power will be gradually restored as of this Saturday. An Nahar said Lebanon could plunge into darkness starting February, according to the former director general of the ministry, Ghassan Beydun. In turn, Al Akhbar newspaper reported that Banque du Liban has refused to itemize the infant formula on the list of the basic commodities included in the circular of provision of the necessary credits for importation in the US dollar. This could threaten with the discontinuation of certain brands of imported milk, Al Akhbar said, pointing out that the caretaker health minister is expected to sign an ordinance today reducing the price of the infant formula after a one-month price freeze pending the approval of the Central Bank to secure the required credits. On the other hand, Al Akhbar indicated that the average monthly salary has lost more than 60% of its purchasing value, causing many Lebanese to give up the consumption of luxury and non-essential items. (An Nahar, Al Diyar, Al Akhbar, January 10, 2020 )

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