Lebanon approves $556M in cash payments for struggling families

The subsidy would give eligible families some much-needed relief in the Middle East nation in the midst of an economic meltdown.

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On Wednesday, Lebanon’s parliament approved cash payments for families struggling financially, a move that will cost $556 million a year and could allow the lifting of a $6 billion subsidy program for basic goods.

Every family eligible for the program would receive around $93 a month, a source close to the government told a news agency.

Meanwhile, the emotions of thwarting and anger continue to tumble into the streets, with anti-government protests and demonstrations sweeping the nation. Critics say the government has failed to offer a credible financial solution that could unlock billions of dollars in international aid to the country.

The World Bank warned earlier this month that Lebanon’s economic crisis could rank as one of the three worst mankind has seen over the past 150 years.

Shortages of critical items including medicine and fuel have worsened in the past month as the central bank has run short of funds to finance the program.

Furthermore, Lebanon’s energy ministry dealt a serious blow to the already besieged pocketbooks on Tuesday by raising fuel prices by more than 35 percent.

The price rambles will mound even more pressure on Lebanese consumers both at the pumps and elsewhere. Long queues for fuel have turned violent in recent days as the frustration grows.

In addition, some hospitals are postponing elective surgeries to save on vital medical supplies such as anesthetics.

The Middle Eastern nation is in the throes of an escalating financial crisis, which has pushed more than half of its people into poverty, and which leaves households stressed to afford basic goods.

Lebanon’s currency has devaluated more than 90 percent since October 2019.

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