• Beirut

  • Wednesday, February 7, 2024 at 11:10:41 AM
    Last Update : Monday, February 12, 2024 at 4:04 PM

Lebanese Military Retirees Protest Low Pensions

(AWP) - Dozens of Lebanese army retirees staged protests outside government facilities in the capital Beirut on Tuesday, including by Beirut port, the Value Added Tax (VAT) building and the revenues building to call for better pension provision in the state budget.

As they moved outside the VAT building, dozens of ex-military personnel blocked off the roads outside the Palais de Justice and delayed the traffic for some time. They reopened the roads later and continued their demonstrations.

“We demand equality with the civilians. We want 95%. This is our right like any other employee,” said Ahmed Suleiman, a retired military man.

Retired Brigadier Hussein Saleh also called for better pensions.
He said, “We are here to claim our rights which are improved pensions according to the law and the constitution. The honorable state can give us our monthly income based on the basic exchange rate – 89,000 liras.”

He complained, “A military pension is about 110 or 120 U.S. dollars. What can such an amount provide? Military people served for 38 or 40 years and now they cannot even afford the electricity bill and bread for their families.”

In a statement, the military retirees urged the Prime Minister of the caretaker cabinet, Najib Mikati, not to approve decrees for wage increases before beneficiaries are informed of its contents and allowed to participate in the decision-making process related to their social security.

The protesters stressed the importance of “endorsing a unified and fair rate of increase in the actual value of salaries and pensions as they were before the financial collapse.”

They demanded “the approval of a plan to continue the gradual and sustainable rectification of wages within set timeframes and at specific rates,” as well as another plan for the gradual correction of retirement benefits that lost their value due to the collapse of the exchange rate.”

The Lebanese army has been facing challenges since the country was hit by an economic meltdown in 2019, causing salaries of active service personnel to plunge, which has had a detrimental effect on pension payments.