Lebanon Oil and Gas summit held at Four Seasons Hotel in Beirut, Monday, April 22, 2013. (The Daily Star/Mahmoud Kheir)
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Before Prime Minister Saad Hariri's resignation plunged Lebanese politics into chaos, the government was actually getting things done.Among the major miracles of the past year was the push to finally start extracting the country's presumed offshore oil and gas reserves."In Lebanon, things take time," he tells The Daily Star.That's why he's now looking to tackle one of the major issues the country will face if it finds oil and gas: what to do with the money.Sizable oil and gas finds could be lucrative for the state. Jaber has introduced a bill to do just that as part of a package of four bills that would also set up a national oil company, create a special petroleum revenue directorate at the Finance Ministry and deal with onshore oil and gas reserves.Amid the harj-wa-marj of Lebanese politics, Jaber thinks of his legislation as a signal of stability to observers and future investors. Jaber says his proposal is modeled on the Norwegian sovereign wealth fund, and that the bill was drafted with the help of three or four Lebanese experts. The main departure from Norway's system, Jaber says, is the involvement of the Central Bank. Still, Jaber points out that the bill has only been introduced.
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