Lebanese government to start cash aid for the poor …

About 500,000 Lebanese families will start receiving $ 20 per month for each member, with a maximum of 6 beneficiaries.

AlTaghyeer: Agencies

The Lebanese government has announced its intention to provide cash assistance, in US dollars, to hundreds of thousands of poor families.

This is what the Associated Press reports quoting the Minister of Tourism and Social Affairs, Ramzi Musharrafieh, during a press conference in Beirut.

The minister added that payments will be made in US dollars, or its equivalent in Lebanese pounds, at the black market exchange rate.

For his part, Economy and Trade Minister Raoul Nehme said the average payment per household is expected to reach $ 93.

This step comes as the government plans to lift subsidies on vital commodities such as fuel and some drugs, which would raise the prices of almost all commodities.

It also comes amid the continued deterioration in the value of the Lebanese currency since the economic crisis that began in October 2019.

The dollar amounts guarantee the protection of poor families in the event of a further collapse of the Lebanese pound in the future.

The dollar’s exchange rate reached 20,000 Lebanese pounds on the black market, while its official rate remained the same before the crisis at 1,507 pounds.

The minimum monthly wage in Lebanon has remained at 675,000 pounds ($ 34).

The subsidy removal plan comes as the central bank’s foreign exchange reserve has shrunk sharply, from $ 30 billion at the start of the crisis at the end of 2019 to $ 14 billion today.

Musharrafiya said the number of families eligible for the grants could increase to 750,000.

That’s when the World Bank made a loan of $ 246 million available to provide cash assistance to nearly 160,000 additional families.

Last month, the government agreed to provide assistance to families, five months after the Lebanese parliament approved a World Bank loan.

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