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Khalil: More Budget Sessions Will Be Needed

May 14

Khalil: More Budget Sessions Will Be Needed

Lebanon’s Cabinet is holding successive meetings to finalize an already belated state budget which Finance Minister Ali Hassan Khalil said requires more discussions probably until Friday, al-Joumhouria daily reported on Tuesday.

“Currently we are studying the budgets to be allocated to the ministries, discussions are touching on the smallest details which makes it unlikely to finalize discussions today. We might need additional meetings probably until Friday,” Khalil told the daily.

The Minister assured that “the budget debate is going on in a normal and detailed manner, we will reach a final version that meets the desired goal mainly in slashing the deficit. It is a fundamental step that must be obtained,” he stressed.

Lebanon has vowed to slash public spending to unlock $11 billion worth of aid pledged by international donors during an April 2018 conference in Paris.

Last month, Prime Minister Saad Hariri vowed to introduce 'the most austere budget in Lebanon's history' to combat the country's bulging fiscal deficit, sparking fears among public sector employees that their salaries may be cut.

Lebanon is one of the world's most indebted countries, with public debt estimated at 141 percent of GDP in 2018, according to credit ratings agency Moody's.