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Cabinet Approves Tax Increase on Bank Deposits Interest Rate

May 12

Cabinet Approves Tax Increase on Bank Deposits Interest Rate

The Cabinet approved an increase in tax on bank deposits on Friday during a session chaired by Prime Minister Saad Hariri at the Grand Serail.

At the end of the meeting, the Minister of Information Jamal Jarrah said:

“It was somehow a long session, but it was very productive in the pending issues, most of which were approved, namely raising the tax on interest rates on banks and individuals, from 7 to 10% for three years. After three years, the tax returns to 7%, and our financial and economic situation would have improved. If there is further improvement, we may reduce it to less than 7% perhaps to 5%.

On the issue of the military institutions and the veterans, there was an early retirement on the 18th year. It is now on the 23rd year. The retirement that used to take place on the 20th year is now on the 25th. As for the specialized officers, three years were added to their retirement.

There has been a serious discussion of measure No. 3 and the issued decrees, and the government will apply the law that stipulates that measure number 3 applies to confrontation with the Israeli enemy, while the rest is subject to measure number 1. The heads of security services will identify the cases they consider to be subject to measure number three 3 and those subject to measures number 2 and 1. In the sense that they determine with the Council of Ministers the exceptional circumstances in which a country can pass, and when measures number 3, 2 or 1 apply. Those who are on the frontlines with the Israeli enemy are governed by measure number. 3. There will be proposals from the Minister of Defense and the Minister of Interior to resolve this issue.

The issue of school benefits for the public sector employees was also discussed. The numbers must be studied more thoroughly to take the necessary measures and reduce them gradually to lessen the weight on the state.

Question: What about salary cuts?

Jarrah: The atmosphere is very positive towards a significant reduction in the public bodies salaries. We did not specify the percentage. There was a suggestion of 50% and suggestions for less than that. Hopefully we will decide on this either Sunday evening or Monday noon.

Question: What about the reduction of public sector salaries?

Jarrah: We will decide on them when we finish with the figures.

Question: The Minister of Education said that school grants were reduced by 15%?

Jarrah: We did not decide yet on this matter. There is a proposal of a 15% cut and other suggestions for more.

Question: Did you take a decision to reduce the salaries of public officials by 50%?

Jarrah: We did not take the decision yet. Everyone knows that there are MPs and ministers whose sole source of income is this salary while others are comfortable.

Question: Will there be exceptions?

Jarrah: We are looking for the best way, because the public authorities should contribute to the reduction in the budget deficit, even if slightly.

Question: Was the issue of maritime properties discussed?

Jarrah: A law was issued in Parliament and I was the head of the subcommittee that prepared this law. There is a decree issued by the Council of Ministers regarding the prices, and another decree was issued that increased these prices, and the decree is being implemented. Some institutions paid, while the files of other institutions are being considered by the Ministry of Finance, and others lack documents and the owners are working to complete them. A valid decree is now in force according to the law on maritime property.

Question: But Minister Wael Abu Faour said that the prices are low compared to what they should be?

Jarrah: Minister Abu Faour gave his opinion that the new decree is still low. This issue will be discussed by cabinet but not within the budget because it does not have anything to do with the budget. There is a valid decree that is being implemented, and the people submitted their requests to pay the state on the basis of this decree, and there are those who originally paid on the basis of this decree.

Question: Is there a clear figure on maritime property revenues for this year?

Jarrah: According to the estimations of the Minister of Finance, the revenues reached one hundred billion Lebanese pounds, but he expects that they reach more because the total estimate of maritime assets over the past 23 years was $800 million. 144 billion reached the treasury, and there are one hundred billion put by the Minister of Finance as a preliminary estimate in the budget of 2019, but his conviction is that it can reach more than the number achieved in 2018.

Question: Is there a decision to complete the budget on Monday?

Jarrah: We hope to finish it on Sunday evening. We will start at nine thirty and I do not know at what time we may finish. We are in a hurry more than you are because in the end the budget must be sent to Parliament and it has a path.

naharnet