Lebanon’s Hariri says concessions made, hopes for govt formation soon

Lebanese Prime Minister-designate Saad Al-Hariri looks on as he speaks at the presidential palace in Baabda, Lebanon. (File photo / AFP)
Updated 09 October 2018
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Lebanon’s Hariri says concessions made, hopes for govt formation soon

BEIRUT: Lebanese Prime Minister-designate Saad Al-Hariri said on Tuesday all political sides had made concessions and he hoped a new government would be formed after President Michel Aoun returns from a trip abroad.
In the more than five months since a parliamentary election in May, politicians have been unable to agree a unity government that can get to work on badly needed economic reforms.
Lebanon, which has the world’s third largest public debt as a proportion of national output, faces an economic crisis if the political stalemate drags on, politicians have said.
“There are concessions from all sides, including the Free Patriotic Movement (FPM),” Hariri told reporters after a meeting of his Future Movement party.
“We hope for the formation of a government after the return of the president from Yerevan because the economic and social situation calls for a speedy government formation,” he said.
Aoun is expected to return from Armenia on Friday.
Rivalry between the two leading Christian parties — Aoun’s FPM, allied to the Hezbollah movement, and the anti-Hezbollah Lebanese Forces (LF) — is widely seen as the main obstacle to a deal.
Hariri said his optimism that a government could be formed soon stemmed from a meeting he had with Aoun last Wednesday.
Hariri said on Thursday he believed the government would be formed within a week to 10 days because the economy could not tolerate further delay.
The formation of a new government would allow Lebanon to begin the substantial fiscal adjustment that the International Monetary Fund says it needs to improve its debt sustainability.
It would also likely unlock more than $11 billion worth of infrastructure investment pledged at a donors’ meeting in Paris in April.
“We are wrong if we think the world will wait for us to save ourselves. There are loans that won’t wait,” Hariri said.


New social deal signed in Morocco, salaries to rise

Updated 26 April 2019
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New social deal signed in Morocco, salaries to rise

  • The minimum wage, currently 2,570 dirhams a month ($266), will be increased by 10 percent over two years from July
  • Last July King Mohammed VI urged the government to take “urgent action” to address social issues

RABAT: The Moroccan government on Thursday announced a “new social deal” with employers and the main labor unions, under which many workers will enjoy a pay rise.
The deal agreed by the General Confederation of Moroccan Businesses (CGEM) and the three main unions — the UMT, UGTM and UNMT — is the fruit of months of negotiations
The minimum wage, currently 2,570 dirhams a month ($266), will be increased by 10 percent over two years from July, except for the agricultural sector.
Government-paid family allowances will also rise.
Meanwhile public sector workers will be given a 300-500 dirham monthly pay increase over three years.
Of Morocco’s main trade unions only the Democratic Labour Confederation has not signed the social deal which, according to the government statement, is aimed at “improving spending power and the social climate.”
Last July King Mohammed VI urged the government to take “urgent action” to address social issues, in particular health and education in the north African country which has been hit by protests over employment and corruption.
Mohammed VI pointed to social support and social protection programs that “overlap each other, suffer from a lack of consistency and fail to effectively target eligible groups.”
After months of stalemate, the dossier was handed to the interior ministry at the beginning of the year and the final rounds of talks were held.
The social unrest began in October 2016 after the death of a fisherman and spiralled into a wave of protests demanding more development in the neglected Rif region and railing against corruption and unemployment.
Morocco is marked by glaring social and territorial inequalities, against a backdrop of high unemployment among young people. In 2018, it was ranked 123rd out of 189 countries and territories on the Human Development Index.