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Lebanese Finance Minister: The country needs a government soon

Feb 02

Lebanese Finance Minister: The country needs a government soon

In a speech at a ceremony marking the implementation of a series of development projects in 16 towns and villages in different areas, Khalil said that the next phase of Lebanon’s history requires taking action to control chaos, waste, corruption, reduce the deficit and launch a “real financial reform, which has become inevitable to be boldly undergone.”

The minister pointed out that after the formation of the new government, there should be a prompt and solid start of the adoption of programmes and plans to restore the people’s trust in the state and its roles, especially on the economic and social levels.

Prime Minister Saad Hariri was tasked on 24 May last year to reform the new government in the wake of the parliamentary elections. However, the conflicts between the political parties over the ministerial quotas and the size and quality of the portfolios have impeded the completion of the government’s formation. There is still a crisis regarding the ministerial representation of the six Sunni deputies of the 8 March political team (Hezbollah’s allies). In addition, some active political forces still want to conduct an exchange of ministerial portfolios contained in their respective ministerial quotas.

Lebanon has been witnessing a severe economic crisis, with a sharp slowdown in growth rates, and the Lebanese public debt to GDP ratio has reached about 150 per cent.

Economists are relying on the prompt formation of the new government to start a set of crucial reforms in the economy and the country’s financial as well as administrative structure so that Lebanon could obtain the financial decisions pledged by the donor states at the Cedar Conference.

The Cedar conference, held in Paris in April last year, resulted in the granting of soft loans of approximately $ 12 billion in favour of Lebanon to support its economy and infrastructure, provided that economic and structural reforms be implemented.