The ministerial committee assigned the subsidy removal file in Lebanon has finished working on the ration card project, Al-Markazia reported on Tuesday.
The proposed plan, which is pending the revision and approval of ministers, stipulates that the card must use U.S. dollars, not Lebanese pounds, according to the newspaper.
The plan allocates an average of $137 per family of 4, to be paid by banks on a monthly basis. This would give a family of this size around $1,645 in annual income.
750,000 families in Lebanon will benefit from the card, which means that the project would cost around $1.2 billion every year if the aforementioned figures were adopted in the final plan.
The ration card is considered an alternative for the subsidies over basic commodities that the Central Bank provides today. As the Central Bank’s foreign currency reserves continue to diminish, the anticipated end of these subsidies grows nearer.
However, one problem that arises in this regard is that caretaker Prime Minister Hassan Diab reportedly wants the Central Bank to fund the ration card.
Regardless of whether or not this will affect the plan’s progress, the other problem with the project is the fact that there are people who will not receive the card at all.
Considering that many Lebanese live in secret poverty, this could prove catastrophic, as the poor, who comprise more than half of the Lebanese population, would have no mode of state support left to continue to acquire their basic needs in the face of inflation if they didn’t acquire the card.