Minister Ali Hasan Khalil reacts during a news conference in Beirut, March 5, 2019. (The Daily Star/Mohamad Azakir)
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Finance Minister Ali Hassan Khalil Wednesday proposed a 50 percent salary reduction for the president, prime minister, ministers, current lawmakers and former MPs as part of an overall plan to reduce the budget deficit. Khalil tweeted this proposal after submitting the 2019 draft budget to Prime Minister Saad Hariri at the Grand Serail.The proposal, which has not been officially discussed in the Cabinet or Parliament, may have been made to contain the anger of citizens, activists and civil society who insist that the salaries of ministers, MPs and former MPs should be cut drastically before even contemplating reviewing the salary scale, which was granted to government civil servants, military personnel and retirees back in 2017 .According to unofficial estimates, the salaries of the president, prime ministers, ministers, lawmakers and former MPs total close to $80 million a year.Some lawmakers said that the finance minister wanted to give the wrong impression that the fiscal deficit was a result of the salaries of MPs and ministers.No information has been yet been disclosed on the 2019 draft budget, but sources say Khalil is proposing a reduction of the budget deficit by 2.5 percent a year for the next five years.
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