|Bakeries revise price of Arabic bread after Beirut raises flour subsidies
|Prices of Arabic bread returned to the previous rates Friday after the Economy Ministry increased the subsidies on flour a day earlier. Union of Bakeries president Kazem Ibrahim said that the price of flour sold to bakeries has dropped from LL400,000 a ton to LL330,000.
"This drop in the price of flour is part of our legal rights but we still have other matters that need to be sorted out," he said, adding that bakeries would continue to sell 1,250 grams of Arabic bread at LL1,500 instead of LL2,000.
On Thursday, most bakeries across the country raised the price of Arabic bread to LL2,000, prompting Economy Minister Sami Haddad to further increase subsidies on flour.
Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri personally intervened in the debate over the matter and persuaded Ibrahim to return the price to LL1,500.
The government said flour subsidies are costing the Treasury over $60 million a year.
Haddad reiterated that the ministry would not allow the prices of Arabic bread to be sold over LL1,500, claiming the government was doing its utmost to protect consumers' rights.
The bakeries argue that the high cost of fuel and labor have increased the financial pressures on bread makers in Lebanon.
The General Labor Confederation (GLC) called off a sit-in scheduled for Monday after the Economy Ministry agreed to increase subsidies on flour.
The GLC warned, though, it would not hesitate to call for an open strike if the price of Arabic bread rose above LL1,500 in the future.
The Daily Star