Gemayel Shrugs off Blames for Thwarting Wage Scale Approvalإقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية
After the Kataeb party was blamed for the parliament's failure to approve Lebanon's long-stalled wage scale file, the party's leader held a press conference on Friday and asked the authorities to take a serious decision to fight corruption and announced readiness to lift his own parliamentary immunity.
“You agreed beforehand to obstruct the session's quorum and lay the blame on the Kataeb,” said Gemayel referring to an adjourned parliamentary session that tackled the salary scale on Thursday.
“Although it is the authority's responsibility to devise alternative sources for funding the scale, but the Kataeb were the first to do so,” he added.
Deputy Speaker Farid Makari on Thursday adjourned a legislative session due to a lack of quorum and accused “those practicing obstruction” and Gemayel of jeopardizing the fate of the pay scale.
“Shall there be evidence proving that the Kataeb have spread the rumors about the new taxes, then I am ready to lift off my parliamentary immunity,” said Gemayel, referring to accusations that his party has circulated on social media a list of “inaccurate” taxes that the parliament plans to impose which triggered a wave of protests.
“The protests we witnessed yesterday prove that the Lebanese haven't surrendered or yielded to injustice,” he said.
“Finance Minister Ali Hassan Khalil himself told Assafir newspaper that money wasted in Customs amount to $700 million. Experts estimate squandering at $1.2 billion. That's the sum we need to finance the salary scale.”
The MP added: “A historical opportunity lies ahead of us to turn this crisis into a chance to salvage Lebanon and give a glimmer of hope for the Lebanese. A serious decision to fight corruption must be taken instead of trading accusations.”
On the imposition of new taxes, he remarked: “We won't accept new levies without offering services in return for the Lebanese services, we reject all forms of dictatorship.
“The state should adopt an austerity policy away from expensive and unimportant projects so as to spare the treasury's funds,” he concluded.