Cabinet Convenes at Baabda, Aoun Invites for 'Speedy' State Budget Approvalإقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية
The cabinet convened on Thursday at the Babada Palace to tackle 66 items on the agenda including the state's budget and address a number of thorny issues mainly the controversial leasing of power generating ships, and a suggestion to rehabilitate the telephone network.
At the beginning of the session, President Michel Aoun stressed the need to accelerate the approval of the state budget, pointing out that the government is “determined to present the 2018 budget withing the constitutional deadlines.
He commented on the latest economic dialogue meeting held at Baabda early this week, and said: “The meeting has revealed some gaps in the wage scale and taxes law, and those are being rectified.”
For his part, Prime Minister Saad Hariri commented on the “achievements” of the Lebanese army in its fight against the Islamic State on Lebanon's eastern border.
He said: “The army must be left to carry out its duty and terminate the terrorists in that area of Lebanon.”
Hariri said that the Public-Private Partnership Law approved by the House of Representatives is an important step to take advantage of liquidity in the banking sector and invest in projects that achieve more growth and employment opportunities.
President Aoun chaired the meeting in the presence Hariri and other ministers. Two Hizbullah and Amal ministers were absent due to their presence in Syria to take part in the Damascus International Fair.
Industry Minister Hussein Hajj Hassan and Public Works and Transport Minister Ghazi Zoaiter headed to Syria on Wednesday in a highly controversial visit, the first since the start of the war. Hariri, an Assad critic, said the visit did not have government backing.
The cabinet is set to discuss a highly controversial file related to Energy Minister Cesar Abi Khalil's request on leasing power generating ships, and the importation of LNG import stations.
A file related to the suggestion of telecommunications Minister Jamal al-Jarrah for cash advances to revamp the land-lines communication network will also be highlighted.
Reports later said that the cabinet has postponed the decision on the cash advances to Ogero, the main operator for the Ministry of Telecommunication, which angered Jarrah.
Before the session began, MP Marwan Hamadeh said: “The cabinet is heading to a new tender as for the power generating ships.”
For his part, minister of health and deputy prime minister, Ghassan Hasbani, stressed that the electricity tender must be run through the Tender Department of the Central Inspection Bureau.
For his part, Lebanese Forces Minister of Social Affairs Pierre Bou Assi commented on the visit of ministers to Syria, he said: "The government has not authorized the ministers to go to Syria.”