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Thursday, 12 December 2019

Main points of Lebanon's emergency economic reforms

AFP , Tuesday 22 Oct 2019
PM Hariri
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Lebanon's embattled government on Monday approved a series of far-reaching economic reforms aimed at addressing some of the grievances of an unprecedented mass protest movement.

Prime Minister Saad Hariri announced the measures in a televised press conference and the details of the package were published later in a statement.

Here are the key points:

Public finances

- Reduction of state deficit to 0.63 percent of GDP in 2020, down from 7.59 percent in the 2019 budget

- The salaries of active and former presidents, ministers and lawmakers are slashed by half

- Ministry of information and other government bodies abolished to cut costs

- Banking sector to contribute 5.1 trillion Lebanese pounds ($3.4 billion) to deficit reduction

- State electricity company's deficit to be slashed by one trillion Lebanese pounds ($663 million)

- Launch of a plan to partially or fully privatise several sectors and public firms, including mobile phone operators, the Port of Beirut and national carrier Middle East Airlines

Social measures

- New pension and welfare systems by the end of the year

- A 20-billion-pound ($13.5 million) boost to a fund for Lebanon's poorest and acceleration of a World Bank loan to support them

- 160-million cash injection to support housing loans

- Amnesty law to be adopted by end of 2019

Anti-corruption measures

- Establishment of a national anti-corruption body

- Halt to state financing of infrastructure projects, which are to be developed by alternative funding including direct foreign investment

- Crackdown on smuggling with scanners and other measures

- Bill on the recovery of embezzled public funds

Infrastructure

- Permits to be granted within four months for the construction of power plants to tackle chronic blackouts

- Launch of the first phase of an infrastructure investment plan agreed in April 2018

- Major roadworks to facilitate access to Beirut

- Creation of regulatory authorities for the energy, telecommunications and civil aviation sectors and the stock exchange

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