Lebanese lawmaker Ali Hassan Khalil announced on Wednesday that he submitted a bill on grating a monthly payment of one million LBP to all military and security officers and personnel for a 6-month period in light of the dire financial situation in the country and given the importance of the “exceptional role” they play.
“Officers and members of the Lebanese Armed Forces, the Internal Security Forces, the General Security, the State Security, the Parliament’s police and the military customs brigade shall be granted a monthly payment worth one million Lebanese pounds due to the high cost of living,” MP Khalil said.
The payment, he added, shall be made for a period of six months as from the date of issuance of this law.
“This payment shall not be considered as part of the base salary and shall not be subject to any tax.”
In unusually outspoken comments, army chief General Joseph Aoun said on Monday his warnings that the pressure on soldiers’ earnings and morale could lead to an “implosion” had fallen on deaf ears.
Lebanon’s pound has crashed nearly 85% since late 2019 in a financial meltdown that poses the biggest threat to stability since the 1975-1990 civil war.
“Soldiers are going hungry like the people,” he said, berating politicians without naming names.
“Do they want the army or not? Do you want the army to stay on its feet or not? … They don’t care.”
The basic monthly salary of a soldier or policeman, which used to amount to around $800, is worth under $120 today. Budget cuts pushed the military to cut meat from its meals last year.