Bassil: We Insist on a Better Budget Even If It Takes Time

Foreign Minister Jebran Bassil on Saturday began a tour in North Lebanon where he was welcomed by Minister of Justice Albert Serhan, Deputy George Atallah and by crowds of citizens and supporters.

“We are working to launch the reform through the state budget,” said Bassil, and referred to the suggestions he made during a Cabinet meeting on Friday which he said his bloc “insists on” in order to “end up with a better budget.”

“We insist to come up with a better budget even if it takes time,” he said.

On criticisms that he is delaying the approval of the budget, Bassil said: “They accuse us of delaying the budget because they want a normal one. They actually agree with our suggestions but prefer postponement.”

Bassil made suggestions during the Cabinet session which reportedly infuriated Finance Minister Ali Hassan Khalil at the end of the session expressing his dismay over having to repeat the draft budget several times.

Bassil reportedly suggested lowering the prices of Middle East Airlines tickets by 30% to “encourage tourists and boost tourism.”

He also suggested that revenues from some of the airport's activities go to the treasury rather than to MEA.

Source: Naharnet

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