Finance Minister Ali Hasan Khalil arrives to attend a Cabinet session at the Presidential Palace in Baabda, Wednesday, Dec. 21, 2016. (The Daily Star/Mohammad Azakir)
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The 2017 draft budget – which calls for new taxes – is not likely to pass in the Cabinet unless there is a clear political consensus on this issue, a leading economist said Tuesday.Finance Minister Ali Hasan Khalil has presented a draft budget that calls for a series of new taxes to finance a higher salary scale for civil servants, a demand spearheaded by Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri and backed by teachers' unions.Among the proposals are increasing the value added tax from the current 10 to 11 percent, increasing taxes on interest rates on customer deposits from 5 to 7 percent, increasing taxes on corporate profits from 15 to 17 percent, and slapping a 15 percent on tax on real estate transactions. A source told the paper that the finance minister may submit a draft budget without new taxes in a bid to persuade both the Cabinet and Parliament to pass this bill.
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