In its final session on Friday, May 20th, Lebanon’s resigning cabinet approved the government’s economic rescue plan.
The cabinet announced there will be an increase in the telecom tariffs for Ogero, Alfa, and MTC as of July.
The new rate will be the equivalent of the bill divided by three and then multiplied by the Sayrafa rate.
A committee is to be formed in order to study the new plans that will be offered at the new rate.
The increase in prices has been foreshadowed since last year with the ongoing fuel crisis. Aside from the fuel cost, transmission towers require constant maintenance, and as the strike proved, the operators’ lack of compensation could hurdle the communication sector all over the country.
Alfa and Touch operators held a strike Friday as a result of the crippling financial situation. The strike shut down the corporate stores, bill payment services, and the distribution of prepaid cards. Then, upon the cabinet issuing the rescue plan, the strike was called off.
Telecom Minister Johnny Corm stated this week that he was asked to cut off the internet connection so people will come to accept higher tariffs.
He reportedly said that he expects 26% of customers to drop their services at the new rates. However, with the new tariffs, the revenues in the sector are expected to grow to $350 million per year.
The ongoing rates within the country are increasingly diminishing the middle class into nonexistence so that the only ones capable of going on living are the rich. Basic amenities due to citizens continue to be scarce, and the available ones have become an unaffordable luxury to the majority.
The Lebanese people are currently holding onto a thread of hope that the newly elected parliament, with the opposition in its midst, could come to speedily work to save them from their dire hardships.