Khalil Says Deficit Could Have Been Lowered Further


After wrapping up weeks of Cabinet negotiations to slash a ballooning budget deficit, Finance Minister ali Hassan Khalil said on Saturday that the deficit could have been lowered further.

“The deficit could have been lowered more, but that would have required additional burdens on the middle and lower income social classes,” said Khalil via Twitter.

"We have committed ourselves to adopting an extraordinary budget that cuts the deficit to the best possible rate, reorganizes the management of public funds, and strengthens confidence in the state for its citizens and the world," he added.

"The most important thing now is that all political forces and parliamentary blocs unite to show what has been accomplished as a national achievement to boost a comprehensive economic start, not to record political points," he added.

On Friday, Lebanese Cabinet ministers wrapped up weeks of haggling, agreeing on a 2019 draft budget that aims to avert a financial crisis by cutting public spending and reduce a ballooning deficit.

Critics say the proposed measures fail to introduce structural reforms needed to rescue the flagging economy.

Information Minister Jamal Jarrah said the proposals put forward reduce the projected percentage of the deficit compared to the gross domestic product from an estimated 11% last year to around 7.5%.

Reducing the deficit was a key aim through which the government hopes to unlock $11 billion in loans and grants made by international donors at an international conference in Paris last year.

Comments 6
Thumb ex-fpm 25 May 2019, 14:06

The budget does not address key reforms. Instead it boosts the states revenues by increasing taxes. The new import tax will only result in higher inflation in a shrinking economy; a recipe for economic disaster.The government claims its actions are to protect local industry. 12 years ago the Agricultural and Industrial sectors contributed more than 30% of GDP. Today, they only represent 17%!. So what is there to protect.

Missing rabiosa 25 May 2019, 18:21

yup all they did was increase taxes where legally they could. No reform of the bureaucracy, not cut in government spending, no cut in over bloated state/public sector redundant employees, no cut in Ministries, no plan for privatization. I hope they never get the CEDRE money. We all know where that's going.

Thumb Mrknowitall 25 May 2019, 14:21

"Deficit Could Have Been Lowered Further"
yeah, even before the government was formed. But some corrupt deadbeat insisted on 30 ministers when 5 would do. But 30 is still better than the sewer dweller's 34 ministers suggestion. Speaking of which, what are they waiting for to set up a date for their final budget meeting in Baabda? Are they waiting for the sewer dweller's speech tonight when he conveys Khamenei's dictates?

Thumb s.o.s 25 May 2019, 15:34

They are waiting for their weekly share of sewage poop stench.

Thumb Mrknowitall 25 May 2019, 17:22

Thank goodness Smell-O-Visions never took!

Thumb s.o.s 25 May 2019, 20:44

They don’t need any tech, all they need to do is open their windows and the fresh air of ouzai will fill their rooms.