Lebanese Cabinet meets to appoint new security officials. Wednesday, March 8, 2017. (The Daily Star / Mohammad Azakir)
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The Cabinet is set to meet Friday amid growing hopes that ministers will wrap up three-week deliberations on the country's draft 2017 budget and endorse a fiscal plan for the first time in 12 years, ministerial sources said Thursday.Economy Minister Raed Khoury was cautiously optimistic about the Cabinet's endorsement of the draft budget, saying another session might be needed before the fiscal plan could be ready to be sent to Parliament for discussion and final ratification by lawmakers.Ministers said a deal to include the cost of the salary scale bill into the state budget has been reached, while a draft law on revenues and proposed taxes to cover the cost has been referred to Parliament.Lebanese Forces chief Samir Geagea said Lebanon would soon have a new electoral law for the upcoming elections after the ratification of the draft budget.In a departure from his threat last week to withdraw his three ministers from the Cabinet unless the government decided to privatize electricity production, Geagea demanded that the draft budget be laced with reforms.
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