From left, Ministers Ali Qanso, Talal Arslan and Tarek Khatib check a Lebanese flag painting ahead of a Cabinet session at the Presidential Palace in Baabda, Thursday, Aug. 3, 2017. (The Daily Star/Hasan Shaaban)
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President Michel Aoun Thursday urged lawmakers to abide by constitutional provisions which call for the ratification of the state budget as a whole, in his latest criticism of Parliament's endorsement last month of the public sector's salary scale and tax hike bills before passing the 2017 fiscal plan. Aoun spoke during a Cabinet session he chaired at Baabda Palace. Although the Cabinet made a number of administrative appointments, the session was dominated by the economic situation in light of the raging row over Parliament's ratification of the salary scale bill for civil servants along with a string of new taxes to fund the bill estimated at more than $800 million annually. The president briefed the Cabinet on the queries he had received on the salary scale bill and the tax measures from union leaders, educational officials, the Higher Judicial Council, the free enterprise union leaders and retired military personnel, Riachi said.Aoun has not yet signed the salary scale and tax hike bills, which Parliament endorsed last month. Hariri said he hoped that the ratification of the state budget, for the first time in 12 years, would be achieved within a month.
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