Lebanese President Signs 2018 Budget Draft Law

 

 

Lebanese President Michel Aoun marked on Monday the 2018 budget draft law.

Prior, Finance Minister Ali Hassan Khalil declared that the nation’s planned financial shortage for 2018 is 7.3 trillion Lebanese pounds ($4.8 billion), including the power shortfall.
He said this was 220 billion Lebanese pounds ($145 million) less than in 2017.

He made his announcement during a joint press conference with Prime Minister Saad Hariri after a cabinet session. The two officials both signed the budget draft law and it has since been referred to parliament for approval.

Hariri described the draft law as an “accomplishment for the government.”

He added that all parties in Lebanon wanted to resolve the electricity crisis, saying: “We must be able to have 24 hours of electricity per day. This issue should be kept away from politics.”

Lebanon is plagued by hours of power cuts.

The country is under pressure to pass the 2018 budget and show it is willing to institute fiscal reforms before a series of international donor meetings this year.

The first meeting in Rome on Thursday will seek support for Lebanon’s armed forces. A conference in Paris in early April aims to fund infrastructure projects.

Last year the government passed its first state budget since 2005 after years of wrangling between rival parties had all but brought political business to a halt.

The 2018 budget foresees 23.85 trillion Lebanese pounds ($15.8 billion) of spending and 18.69 trillion pounds ($12.4 billion) of revenues, he said.

That compares with 23.90 trillion Lebanese pounds ($15.8 billion) of spending and 16.42 trillion Lebanese pounds ($10.9 billion) of revenues in the 2017 budget.

Khalil said no new taxes were included in the 2018 budget.

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