Miqati: Govt. Factions Will Inevitably Reach Solution to Spending Disputeإقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية
Prime Minister Najib Miqati hoped on Friday that the various political powers will succeed in overcoming obstacles in the government’s performance ahead of cabinet’s upcoming session on Wednesday.
He remarked: “All factions will inevitably reach a solution to the government spending dispute.”
He made his statements before a meeting with participants at the Arab Economic Forum at the Phoenicia Hotel in Beirut.
“Each faction is approaching the spending dispute according to its own political interests,” he added.
“I was aware of the hardships awaiting me when I agreed to assume my role of prime minister,” he continued.
“I agreed to the position to present solutions and not become an additional problem,” stressed Miqati.
“Neither the ministers, nor myself, agree to become a problem for Lebanon. The key lies in establishing a strong government that seeks to serve the country,” he stated.
The premier listed the obstacles that the government succeeded in overcoming, such as maintaining the country’s stability and committing to international agreements, like funding of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon.
“This is a strong government in every sense of the word,” he declared.
Addressing Lebanon’s electricity crisis, Miqati revealed that the issue is being tackled by studying whether the Zouk and Jiyeh power plants need to be rehabilitated.
The implementation of a project to produce 700 megawatts of power is another solution to the crisis, said the premier.
Cabinet members are at loggerheads over a $5.9 billion spending bill that would legalize the allocation of funds made by Miqati’s cabinet.
While the Free Patriotic Movement, AMAL, and Hizbullah have pressured President Michel Suleiman to sign the bill into law over parliament’s failure to adopt it, ministers loyal to Progressive Socialist Party leader MP Walid Jumblat have defended the head of state in his decision not to.
Suleiman claims that the bill includes violations that should be amended by taking into consideration the remarks made by the parliamentary finance and budget committee.
The failure to approve the bill has threatened to withhold the salaries of Lebanese civil servants although Safadi gave assurances that the employees would receive their wages.
Asked about the situation of Lebanon’s bank sector, he replied: “The bank sector is very solid.”
“There are no problems in the banking sector as the government is taking all of the necessary precautions and no sanctions are being violated,” he stressed.
“I hope that all sides would keep the banking sector away from the political disputes because this field is very important for Lebanon’s economy and it serves as the country’s backbone,” Miqati added.
On April 29, Central Bank governor Riyad Salameh has denied that Syrian nationals were smuggling money to Lebanon, rejecting claims about money laundering in Lebanese banks.
His comments came against the backdrop of a report by The Wall Street Journal that said Washington is intensifying its scrutiny of Lebanon's financial system over concerns that Syria, Iran, and Hizbullah are using Lebanese banks to evade international sanctions and fund their activities.