Sleiman arrives at the Lebanon Economic Forum in Beirut. (The Daily Star/Mohammad Azakir)
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This is the first time Sleiman has raised the issue of privatization since he took office almost six years ago.Observers believe that privatization is not expected to take place this year as Lebanon will be preoccupied with the presidential and parliamentary elections as well as key security issues. Sleiman emphasized the need to adopt sound and bold economic policies with the introduction of comprehensive reforms that would aim at increasing revenues and rationalizing expenditure.Sleiman outlined his belief that the primary means of tackling the economy's weakness should be the preparation of a solid visionary budget incorporating several sector-specific policies that would complement the fiscal system.Other ministers and officials underlined the importance of tackling waste and cutting the huge budget deficit.Hasan also advised the restructuring of public institutions' services by filling vacant posts and respecting the law.Unemployment is expected to double to more than 20 percent and about 170,000 additional Lebanese will join the 1 million currently living below the poverty line.
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