The Parliament convened to vote on the 2019 draft budget in a closed session on Friday after failing to approve the budget in a three-day session this week, amid demonstrations held by army veterans.
“If the government and the Parliament are serious about stopping random employment in public administrations, then how can we agree on a $14 billion salary hike for OGERO employees for 2018 and 2019,” Head of the Parliament's Finance and Budget committee, Ibrahim Kanaan, questioned.
“If you want to clear up politicizing OGERO then let the matter tackle the new 5000 employees who were hired by all factions,” Prime Minister Saad Hariri addressed the company’s hiring policy, following an argument between MPs Mohammad Chucair and Yassine Jaber over the $14 billion cut in financial fund from the OGERO employees’ salaries as part of its 2019 austerity budget.
To which Kataeb leader Samy Gemayel indicated that any future employment following the ratification of the Salary Scale Law is a violation of the law and that a hiring freeze should be put in place as suggested by the premier.
“I endorse Hariri’s suggestion to revoke all appointments that took place after the approval of the hiring freeze law as it is unconstitutional and illegal. The Cabinet must enlist a specialized commission to look into all of these recruitments,” Gemayel declared.
During the session, Speaker Nabih Berri suspended work on postal expenses and LibanPost budget article, leading to a heated argument among lawmakers.
The Parliament has also approved a draft law that grants a $75 billion funding for the Development and Reconstruction Council as opposed to the $175 billion asked for by the Council, and endorsed downsizing $100 billion of the Council’s financial funds from the government project.
Berri suspended Article 7 pertaining to international funds and loans until the government and the Finance Committee reach an agreement on it.