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Parliament passes 2020 budget $4.3 billion deficit, 7% of GDP

Jan 29

Parliament passes 2020 budget $4.3 billion deficit, 7% of GDP

38 percent of lawmakers voted in favor of bill

The 2020 public budget was approved by Parliament. Out of 128 members, 49 voted in favor (38 percent) and 13 in opposition, while eight abstained from voting. The other MPs were absent or boycotted the voting session.

The budget forecasts a deficit of seven percent of GDP, or $4.3 billion. The previous government had proposed a 0.6 percent deficit.

The Prime Minister said that the current government, which has not received yet the mandatory vote of confidence, does not have the right to recall the budget proposal presented by the former Cabinet or to propose a new one. “The government reserves the right to submit bills for budget amendments, after gaining confidence,” said Prime Minister Hassan Diab.

Ibrahim Kanaan, Chairman of the Parliamentary Budget Committee, said the forecast revenues might be unrealistic as the country wrestles with a major economic and financial crisis. He said interest rates should be cut or State revenues would not be able to cover debt servicing.