File - Prime Minister Tammam Salam heads a security meeting at the Grand Serail in Beirut, Monday, Oct. 27, 2014. (The Daily Star/Dalati Nohra, HO)
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Prime Minister Tammam Salam signaled Tuesday that Lebanon would soon have an approved state budget for the first time in more than 10 years, seen as vital to coping with a crippling economic and financial crisis.His remarks came a day after the Cabinet agreed on the need to ratify the 2017 state budget as the country is grappling with soaring public debts, estimated at $71 billion, an annual $4 billion budget deficit and low economic growth. The two sides stressed the need to reactivate constitutional institutions, particularly Parliament, to pass essential financial draft laws.Earlier in the day, Salam said he felt for the first time that ministers had shown seriousness during Monday's Cabinet session on the importance to approve a state budget.Lebanon has not approved a state budget since 2005 due to obstructive political wrangling among rival factions.The Cabinet's decision on the need to approve the 2017 state budget won praise from both the Future Movement's parliamentary bloc, which viewed it as essential to returning to financial order, and MP Michel Aoun's bloc.While praising the Cabinet's plan to approve the state budget, Aoun's Change and Reform parliamentary bloc stressed that the approval should come only after closing previous accounts.
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