Parliament Approves Tax Bills to Finance the Wage Scaleإقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية
The parliament convened in a second legislative session on Wednesday, under the chairmanship of Speaker Nabih Berri, and approved a number of laws that introduced tax provisions that secured revenues to finance the wage scale after it was approved during Tuesday's session.
At the beginning of the meeting, the council approved an amendment to Article 10 which imposes an amount of 5000 Lebanese pounds on non-Lebanese passengers upon their entry into Lebanon.
Article 11 canceled fees on economy travel tickets and kept the fees at their current value of 60,000 pounds.
The parliament also approved taxes on bank accounts and interests, a 7% tax was imposed on banks' profits.
A law securing revenues for the wage scale was also approved.
Furthermore, Parliament endorsed a 1 percent increase in the Value Added Tax (TVA), which previously stood at 10%.
Kataeb party leader MP Sami Gemayel has repeatedly rejected imposition of new taxes, “I object to the nature of taxation and randomness without having a feasibility study. Approval of these taxes hits the rest of the middle class,” he said.
Replying to Gemayel, Berri said: “Are you as keen as we are? Is this State our State or not? Suppose we get additional money, it will go to the treasury. We are not imposing taxes on middle and poor classes.”
The parliament also approved the imposition of fines on maritime public property.
For his part, Finance Minister Ali Hassan Khalil stressed that taxes on maritime property violations must be authorized, he said: “We will not approve settlements for violations on maritime property, we rather plan to impose fines without giving them any acquired right. If we do not approve this today, we will be giving violators an award.”
Prime Minister Saad Hariri pointed out that “violations should have been settled 20 years ago. It was our mistake as parliament and cabinet that we did nothing.”
In parallel with the legislative session, a group of civil society activists, Kataeb party protesters rallied in Riad al-Solh square close to the parliament rejecting hikes in taxes.
Speaker Nabih Berri adjourned the meeting until Prime Minister Saad Hariri returns back from a scheduled trip abroad.