Bassil Urges Abolishing Unproductive Institutions, Raising Taxes on Banks
Free Patriotic Movement chief MP Jebran Bassil on Tuesday called for abolishing “unproductive public administrations” and raising taxes on banks, as part of suggestions he made in Cabinet to further reduce public spending.
Speaking after the weekly meeting of the Strong Lebanon bloc, Bassil said he raised five suggestions in Cabinet related to “the state's size, funds waste and tax evasion, debt interests and trade balance.”
“We are concerned with the success of the state budget, not scoring points against each other, and we are seeking true reform that relieves people and rescues Lebanon,” he added.
“We're all in the government dismayed because we have not yet reached the place we want and our only choice is a reformist budget,” Bassil went on to say.
Moreover, Bassil said the FPM supports putting an end to illegal employment and unjustified travel by officials and employees, while also suggesting modified working hours.
Bassil also called for putting an end to “bonuses” in the public sector and “limiting them to a specific category of employees.”
Furthermore, he rejected limiting salary cuts to ministers and MPs, saying they should affect wider segments of civil servants.
Lebanon has vowed to slash public spending to unlock $11 billion worth of aid pledged by international donors during an April 2018 conference in Paris.
Last month, Prime Minister Saad Hariri vowed to introduce "the most austere budget in Lebanon's history" to combat the country's bulging fiscal deficit, sparking fears among public sector employees that their salaries may be cut.
Lebanon is one of the world's most indebted countries, with public debt estimated at 141 percent of GDP in 2018, according to credit ratings agency Moody's.