Khalil: State Budget Finalized and I'm Satisfiedإقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية
Finance Minister Ali Hassan Khalil has announced that the draft 2019 state budget has been finalized and that he is “satisfied” with the result.
“The discussions of the budget have ended and no real amendment has been introduced. Wednesday we'll be before a new scene and what's important is to accompany it with governmental action and I'm satisfied,” he told al-Joumhouria newspaper in remarks published Wednesday.
Khalil had warned that any attempt to add articles to the budget would push him to walk out of Cabinet and “hold everyone responsible.”
“I have finished and the Finance Ministry has finalized the budget. What you are doing has nothing to do with the budget, whose numbers have been finalized, reflecting a very encouraging outcome and a decrease in deficit that meets the needed target,” the minister added.
Foreign Minister Jebran Bassil had said during Tuesday's session that the FPM was "not satisfied with the result."
“This is worse than what we were expecting and a 7.6% reduction in deficit is not sufficient,” he added.
The Cabinet has held around 17 sessions to finalize the budget and several parties have accused Bassil of hindering the discussions with side proposals.
Lebanon has vowed to slash public spending to unlock $11 billion worth of aid pledged by international donors during an April 2018 conference in Paris.
Last month, Hariri vowed to introduce "the most austere budget in Lebanon's history" to combat the country's bulging fiscal deficit, sparking fears among public sector employees that their salaries may be cut.
Lebanon is one of the world's most indebted countries, with public debt estimated at 141 percent of GDP in 2018, according to credit ratings agency Moody's.