Lebanese government to begin cash assistance for poor families next month

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

AlTaghyeer: Agencies

The Lebanese government said that it intends to grant cash assistance, in US dollars, to hundreds of thousands of poor families.

This is according to what the Associated Press quoted Tourism and Social Affairs Minister Ramzi Musharrafieh during a press conference in Beirut.

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

For his part, Minister of Economy and Trade Raoul Nehme said that 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 medicines, which would raise the prices of almost all commodities.

It also comes amidst the ongoing deterioration of 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 the further collapse of the Lebanese pound in the future.

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

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

The plan to lift subsidies comes as the foreign exchange reserve in the central bank has sharply decreased, from $30 billion at the beginning of the crisis in late 2019 to $14 billion currently.

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

That’s when the World Bank would make available $246 million in loan to provide cash assistance to nearly 160,000 additional families.

Last month, the government had agreed to grant aid to families, five months after the Lebanese Parliament approved a loan from the World Bank.

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