Lebanon News

Cabinet agrees on reforms, Hariri tells Lebanese

Prime Minister Saad Hariri speaks after a Cabinet session, Oct. 21, 2019. (The Daily Star/Mohamad Azakir)

BEIRUT: Prime Minister Saad Hariri Monday said that a series of reforms were agreed on during a Cabinet session, while adding that the draft budget aims to bring down the deficit to 0.6% of GDP.

Hariri was speaking during a session held at Baabda Palace, against the backdrop of nationwide anti-government protests. Ministers discussed and approved Hariri's economic blueprint as well as approving the draft 2020 state budget with the 0.6 percent deficit to GDP ratio, with banks set to participate in the deficit reduction to the tune of LL5.1 trillion ($3.4 billion).

Hariri also added that there was an agreement that the salaries of former and current MPs and ministers will be cut by 50 percent, as well as approving a law to return looted public funds.

He added that a study will be carried out to privatize mobile phone companies, while announcing that Information Ministry and other governmental bodies will be eliminated.

The premier addressed the protesters, telling them that it was their right to the take to the streets and that it was up to them to decide when to leave.

"The decisions that we have taken might not fulfill your demands, but they fulfill what I have been calling for," he said. "I will not allow anyone to scare you, and it's the government's duty to protect your peaceful demands."

 

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