BEIRUT: Progressive Socialist Party leader Walid Jumblatt has questioned the management of Lebanon's nascent gas and oil industry, warning against subjecting Lebanon's national resources to political dueling.
"I questioned the withdrawal of some of the major oil companies from bidding in the Lebanese oil market," he said in his weekly column in the PSP's newspaper, warning that "local mismanagement of the oil industry treated Lebanese oil not as a national treasure but as a competition between the heads."
Jumblatt also called to head off any corruption in the sector.
The MP called for a large development program for the town of Arsal and urged the construction of refugee camps for displaced Syrians.
Jumblatt spoke of the importance of “implementing development plans to achieve a qualitative rather than superficial change, to lift injustice from people who are not only facing difficult living conditions, but also care for a 100,000 displaced Syrians."
The party head said that current conditions necessitated the formation of refugee camps for displaced Syrians and suggested appointing of one of the country’s security forces to monitor refugees. Jumblatt said that security forces must distinguish between the majority of refugees who were innocent and a minority that aimed to carry out terrorist acts.
“After the experience of Arsal, we should seriously reconsider the formation of refugee camps, due to the positive security outcome it would have and not just because it contributes to organizing Syrian aid,” he said.
Jumblatt warned of an impending economic crisis, saying that national debt had increased as a result of the political and security climate in the region.
He also raised questions about funding the 10,000 new recruits for the Lebanese Army.