A group of local mayors discuss governance issues at a conference in Beirut (The Daily Star/Mohammad Azakir)
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Greater administrative decentralization for municipalities in Lebanon emerged as a major theme of the Civic Influence Hub that brought municipal officials from across the country together in Beirut Thursday.One administrator even suggested the creation of a new "central bank" for municipalities to help boost autonomy for local projects.Head of Jezzine Municipal Union Khalil Harfouche cited his constituency as an example of how municipalities can work with the private sector and civil society to improve and implement projects."The people are paying extra to get things done more conveniently, but this money is in the [form of bribery]," Obeid said. He then called for the establishment of a central bank for municipalities to be able to take loans for projects and allow them to be more transparent. Tayyoun also called for government financial aid to be distributed to municipalities based on population.The Civic Influence Hub has now held conferences with NGOs, economic professionals, unions and municipalities.
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