Sudden Price Hikes Reported Across Lebanon amid Debate on Taxes

  • Economics
Sudden Price Hikes Reported Across Lebanon amid Debate on Taxes

Traders reportedly started to raise the prices of certain commodities after the Parliament approved last week a series of taxes to fund the salary scale for civil servants as well as teachers.

Economy Minister Raed Khoury warned against taking advantage of the current debate over the taxes to manipulate with the prices, noting that discussions are yet to be concluded by both the Parliament and the government.

In a statement issued by his press office on Monday, Khoury deemed the prices hike as "unjustified", warning that violators will face strict measures if they fail to abide by the law.

Head of Consumer Lebanon, Zuhair Berro, told The Daily Star newspaper that he has been receiving many complaints about a sudden rice in the prices of specific commodites, such as rice, sugar and canned food items.

"They also raised the price of a pack cigarettes by LL250 [$0.17] although Parliament has not yet endorsed this proposal. [They] are greedy and unethical merchants who can’t wait to make a quick profit,” Berro noted.

He dismissed the Economy Ministry's argument that there is no sufficient number of controllers to monitor the prices nationwide, saying that Lebanon has 140 controllers while Dubai has only 22.

"In Dubai the number of violations recorded by the emirate was 17,000 and in Lebanon the number of fines only reached 170 in one year. This shows that these employees are not doing their jobs properly. They want to get paid for doing nothing,” Berro complained.