Columnist Nazir Rida said he was not surprised to see Lebanon in the lowest ranks of countries in terms of minimum wage alongside Afghanistan, Angola and other African countries.
The wage which has hit nearly $70 a month is an inevitable result of the Lebanese pound’s collapse against the U.S. dollar in light of an economy depending on imports and on USD currency at a rate of 75%. So here’s the question: will public sector employees start giving up their jobs due the country’s situation?
“With regard to public sector jobs, there are guarantees in education, healthcare and for the future. As far as I know, it’s not the first time that we go through this stage; we had seen it in the 1980s and in 1992,” Rida said during an interview with Sawt Beirut International (SBI) reporter Mahasen Morsel.
Afterwards, he said, “the first government of martyr Prime Minister Rafik Hariri adjusted wages,” noting that “in the wake of crises, wages are always adjusted.”
“Therefore, talks about giving up jobs are exaggerated for several reasons; the first being guarantees. The main problem in Lebanon consists in education and healthcare, so if the state is providing them to the public sector employee, why would he abandon his job? Especially since other options in the private sector are almost non-existent.
Rida said the private sector is almost non-existent now since 2,500 establishments have closed, noting that “the immigration option has been narrowed due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the global economic crisis.”
Hence, there are no available options for employees to find other job opportunities, but a question arises here: is this salary sufficient to secure food and water throughout the month? The answer is definitely not.