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Finance minister urges officials to endorse budget

Minister Ali Hasan Khalil arrives to attend a Cabinet session in Baabda, Thursday, March 13, 2014. (The Daily Star/Hasan Shaaban)

BERIUT: Finance Minister Ali Hasan Khalil urged officials Friday to endorse the 2014 draft budget despite the breakdown of previous years.

“The political considerations and the breakdown of accounts of previous years should not block us from endorsing the 2014 public budget,” the minister said during a press conference where he announced the new state budget.

“Let us all close the wounds of the past. ... Lawmakers should all approve the budget in Parliament,” the minister said. “The Constitution imposes achieving the budget, and both the minister and ministry could be hold accountable for any violation in this regard."

Khalil has finalized the 2014 draft budget with a projected deficit in spending at 34.9 percent, compared to 30.94 percent in 2013. A report detailing the 2014 draft budget was published in The Daily Star Thursday.

The bill was submitted to the Cabinet Secretariat, which in turn will put it on the government’s agenda for discussion and approval. The budget would then need to be approved by lawmakers in Parliament. Lebanon has failed since 2005 to pass a single budget.

According to Khalil, his draft budget could be modified by the Cabinet, potentially reducing the expected deficit.

The minister also said the ministry had finalized the audit of the expenditures for 2012.

 

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