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Cabinet Statement: 10/02/2022
Cabinet Statement: 10/02/2022
10/02/2022

Statement:

Then, Minister Abbas Al-Halaby, read the Cabinet statement:

“The Cabinet convened in a session chaired by President of the Republic, General Michel Aoun, and attended by Prime Minister, Najib Mikati and ministers.

At the beginning, the President welcome the ministers and appreciated their efforts in completing the 2022 draft budget law, in addition to working in difficult conditions at various levels.

President Aoun said: “What is required at this stage is to focus efforts to address citizens’ living and social issues which burden them and cause them daily sufferings, hence the need to find sustainable solutions. The President also called for monitoring prices, combatting high prices, implementing laws and setting controls to monitor commercial activities and the commitment to scientific and legal foundations to determine profits and prices.

Moreover, the President stressed the follow-up of programs to support the poorest families, the financing card and joint contracts concerned with the conditions of people with special needs, as well as following up on the conditions of health care centers and enhancing their capabilities to enable them to provide necessary medical services. President Aoun also emphasized the need to secure medicines for incurable diseases, permanent treatments and hospital services, which have become a difficult burden.

In addition, President Aoun stressed the activation of the work dynamics in various departments and institutions and the return of employees to their work centers, especially after adjusting and increasing the value of daily transport. The President pointed out that “We cannot accept that departments and institutions open one or two days per week. Citizens go to public administrations and institutions run their business without avail, work is delayed, and there is procrastination and failure to implement any work under the excuse that employees are absent, hence bribes and connections begin”.

Then, the President spoke about the draft budget, and said: “It is important that the draft budget be accompanied by the financial and economic recovery plan that is under discussion and preparation by the task force, headed by the Deputy Prime Minister, provided that it includes: Determining losses and how they are distributed (the state, the Central Bank, banks and depositors. I insist on not harming small depositors who constitute about 93% of their total), restructuring banks, recapitalizing and restructuring the BDL, structural reforms, and fighting corruption, starting with a forensic audit and an executive plan for the social safety net”.

Afterwards, President Aoun stressed the need to complete the financial accounts that are still being completed at the Audit Bureau, indicating that he agreed with Premier Mikati to set a special session for the electricity, in which a plan would be approved and a draft law program for its implementation would be drawn up.

President Aoun also pointed out that the draft budget notes an amount of 7,600 billion LBP in interest, of which 1,200 billion are long-term debts to international institutions, and an amount of 6,400 billion will accrue interests at a rate of 1/3 to banks and 2/3 to the Central Bank, knowing that the draft budget did not include interests on Eurobonds.

“Accordingly, it is assumed that interest will not be paid on the internal debts of the Banque du Liban and banks, similar to the Eurobonds, and that the amount of 6400 billion will be distributed at a rate of 2/3 for electricity instead of the noticeable advance, and the remaining 1/3 is an increase in public sector pensions. This measure reduces the budget deficit, cancels the treasury advance, and mitigates the inflationary effects resulting from printing a currency for interest, especially since all depositors do not receive interest on their deposits and do not receive their deposits” President Aoun said.

“The IMF proposed the necessity of reconsidering the Lebanese tax system to include the tax plate in an ascending manner, in order to achieve tax justice, improve the level of revenues, and achieve social stability. As for the 2022 draft budget, it does not present any reform orientations with regard to the tax system and is satisfied with raising revenues on some traditional sections of the budget” President Aoun concluded.

PM Mikati:

Then, Prime Minister Mikati thanked the ministers for the efforts they made to approve the draft budget law, which was fully studied, subject to article, and was subject to a wide discussion among the ministers.

PM Mikati presented the most prominent amendments that occurred in some articles of the draft budget, pointing out that revenues are almost equal to expenditures with an amount of 7000 billion LBP in the budget reserves. PM Mikati stressed that the general trend is to pay attention to social and living aspects and to facilitate the conditions of citizens and their health and care affairs.

In addition, PM Mikati pointed out that after approving the budget in the Cabinet, specialized sessions will be held to study specific sectors, the most important of which are electricity, communications and waste, provided that the economic recovery plan has been completed to be presented to the Council of Ministers, and after approval it will be presented for a wide discussion by various concerned authorities.

In addition, the Prime Minister focused on the importance of achieving required reforms, whether through decrees issued by the Council of Ministers or laws approved by the Parliament, pointing to the importance of solidarity to work to save the country from the painful reality it is passing through.

Finally, PM Mikati considered that any rescue work requires sacrifices and cooperation by all and this is what we hope for, far from negativity and populism”.

Afterwards, the Cabinet began studying the draft budget law. The Finance Minister presented the most prominent outlines of the budget, and ministers continued to state their observations and suggest some amendments to the draft, which was approved after adopting the amendments.

 

 

The Council took a series of decisions, most notably:

-Various contractors in the Ministry of Education benefit from a daily transportation allowance for a maximum of 3 days per week, provided that the number of daily teaching lessons is not less than 3 during each week.

-Extension of work by a decision to give social assistance equivalent to half a salary, provided that it is given to workers who are committed to attending the regular official working hours starting from its date. The minimum is one and a half million LBP, the maximum is three million LBP, and for retirees, one and a half million LBP.

-Assigning Mr. Ziad Nasr to carry out the duties of a government employee at the Council for Development and Reconstruction.

-Appointment of Brigadier General, Muhammad Al-Mustafa, as Secretary-General of the Supreme Defense Council, and Brigadier General, Pierre Saab, as a member of the Military Council.

The Council of Ministers also approved the 2022 budget, and it was decided to refer it to Parliament soon”.

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