Hariri: Deficit Reduction is a Message in All Directionsإقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية
Prime Minister Saad Hariri has described the deficit reduction in the draft 2019 state budget as a "message in all directions."
"Yesterday, we finished the budget and with it we ended the bet of some people on the failure of the government to reduce the deficit and expenses and control squander," Hariri said at an iftar banquet.
"The percentage of deficit reduction is a message in all directions, to the Lebanese in the first place, to the economic sector, the financial markets and our friends in the international community. The message is that the Lebanese government is determined to address the weakness, imbalance and squander in the public sector and that it insists on the highest degree of transparency in implementing the CEDRE program," he added.
"The 2019 budget is not the end. This budget is the beginning of a long road that we decided to take in order to lead the Lebanese economy to safety," the premier went on to say.
He added: "We have two choices: either we continue as we are and wait for the World Bank to impose impossible conditions on us, as happened in Jordan, Egypt and Greece, and then we will be obliged to implement the conditions. Or we do what we are doing today, do our internal reform before reaching the danger zone."
Noting that this phase "will not be long," Hariri reassured that "one or two years after implementing CEDRE, things will move forward."
"We had to meet 19 times to approve the budget. Some think that there was some waste of time. Yes, there was in some places. But in others no, because for the first time, we were working as a group to reach the best figures and projects to reduce the deficit. It is not easy, especially that many political groups gathered to prepare the budget, and each has its economic ideas and wants to come out as the winner," Hariri noted.
He however said that "Lebanon is the winner from this budget, and not any political team."
"The Lebanese are the winners and this is what was important to me. This is why I took time and was very patient. But the 2020 budget will not take that much, because now we know what we want to do. The 2019 budget is the beginning of the process of what we want to do in 2020, 2021, 2022 and 2023," Hariri added.