A man crosses a street hosting banks and financial institutions, known as Banks street, in Beirut Central District, June 2, 2017. REUTERS/Jamal Saidi
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The newly endorsed taxes will probably affect Lebanese banks' consolidated profits in the coming years but will not dissuade lenders from financing the state's needs, economists and bankers said Thursday.Among the measures was increasing taxes on corporate profits from 15 to 17 percent and raising the tax on interest rates on deposits from five to seven percent.In the past, the Finance Ministry gave tax exemption on profits generated by banks from interest rates on T-bills.In 2015, the consolidated net profits of all banks operating in Lebanon reached $2 billion. The unaudited consolidated net profits of the Alpha Group of banks reached $518.5 million in the first quarter of 2017, constituting an increase of 1.6 percent from net earnings of $510.1 million in the same quarter of 2016 .Ghobril warned that these taxes will increase the cost of doing business in Lebanon in the future and increase the operating cost of firms.He added that it was not certain that the $1.2 billion target set by the government from the new taxes could be achieved this year.
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