Hariri: I Won't Waste this Opportunity for Economic Reform
As the government plans to implement austerity measures to slash the country’s ballooning budget deficit, Prime Minister Saad Hariri said there is an “opportunity to improve the economic situation,” stressing that the Lebanese Lira is doing “fine.”
“We have an opportunity that I will not waste and those who want to waste it should bear responsibility”, said Hariri, adding “there is a chance to improve our situation, but without serious reforms there won’t be any improvement, investments or job opportunities.”
Hariri’s stances came during an Iftar held by the union of Beirut families at the SeaSide Arena, in the presence of a number of dignitaries and representatives of Beiruti families.
“We know where the country stands, and the difficulties we face in economy. We all have to work to get out of this economic situation, because we really have an opportunity. It is true that we want to reduce spending, but at the same time, there is CEDRE, with $12 billion for the infrastructure,” added the Premier.
“Does anyone believe that our infrastructure is fine? Of course not. This is why we have to apply austerity on one hand and implement these projects on the other, because they will create between 30 and 50 thousand job opportunities per year. I assure you that we will reach solutions regarding the budget that satisfy everyone,” he emphasized.
The Premier assured that austerity plans are a “treatment” for the economic situation “not a sedative, this is why we should carry out these reforms. I will always be honest with you and we will continue the path together.”
“Things may be difficult these days, but after the approval of the budget things will be better because we would have reached the place that we, as state and government, should reach. CEDRE and all its projects will be launched,” noted the PM.
Hariri concluded: “There is a lot of alarmism in the country, but President Michel Aoun said yesterday that the Lebanese Pound is fine and I assure you that the Pound is fine because we have a governor at the Central Bank named Riad Salameh who is working hard. We all have to work together and no political team can enhance the country alone. We should all do it together.”