The most that can be said about the minimum wage in Lebanon, is that it has become a cruel joke of dark comedy.
The minimum wage is equal to 675,000 Lebanese pounds, which was equivalent to 450 dollars before the crisis. Today, it is equal to 32 dollars, according to the exchange rate on the black market. It is known that the majority of Lebanese people get their wages in the national currency.
As for the prices of basic foodstuffs, they rose more than fifty percent in less than a month, after the cost of ten basic food commodities, such as vegetables, grains, dairy, beef and oil, had risen by more than 700 percent within two years.
Based on interviews it conducted in April with 1,244 families, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) found that 77 percent of families did not have enough food or money to buy food, and more than 30 percent of their children slept in March “with empty stomachs, because they did not get enough meals”.
What is the exchange cost today for an average family of 4 people?
The cost of the food and consumer basket is 4.5 million pounds per month, and the information here is for the International Information Company.
And 4.5 million pounds per month is compared to 450 thousand pounds in 2019, which is an increase of 900 percent
To this cost is added the cost of housing, electricity, water, transportation, education, medicine, clothing, communications. These costs vary from one region to another.
This means that each individual needs at least one million pounds per month only for food, if we add to the number two million pounds as a minimum for transportation, and one million between communications and personal expenses. This number reaches four million without calculating the generator, electricity and water subscription, which is divided by the number of the family.
That is, by a simple arithmetic process, the minimum wage should reach about 10 million pounds… This is of course in case the dollar does not return to soaring up again on the black market.