Lebanese Energy Minister Raymond Ghajar said on Thursday: “We have to get used to and be convinced that the subsidies that we have benefited from in a year or a year and a half…will end.”
Lebanon’s energy minister said on Thursday that the country’s gasoline subsidies are unsustainable and will eventually end.
“We have to get used to and be convinced that the subsidies that we have benefited from a year or a year and a half… will end,” Raymond Gajel said after the parliamentary meeting.
Lebanon is in the throes of a deep economic crisis, which constitutes the most serious threat to its stability since the 1975-1990 civil war.
The central bank’s reserves are about to run out and will not be able to fund a plan to subsidize basic commodities such as wheat, fuel and medicines.
Fuel shortages in the past few weeks have forced Lebanese motorists to line up for several hours, with almost no gasoline, and quarrels broke out among frustrated citizens.
The subsidy program costs Lebanon about US$6 billion annually, half of which is used for fuel.
“Those who cannot afford 200,000 Lebanese pounds for a tank should stop using the car and use other things,” Ghajar said.
The Minister added that 200,000 pounds, or about 13 US dollars at informal market prices, reflects the actual value of gasoline, while only 40,000 pounds are currently charged.