Progressive Socialist Party leader MP Walid Jumblat voiced calls on Monday to save Lebanon's notoriously ineffective and costly electricity sector from plagued “corruption” and described the persisting power crisis as the result of failed political polices a “crime.”
“Stop dividing electricity spoils and save Lebanon's electricity sector from shabbiness, corruption and those avaricious for money and politics. What is happening today is a crime,” said Jumblat on his Twitter account.
“All the matter needs is a clear decision to build a new power plant with $1 billion, equal to the annual deficit. We might as well stop distributing (leasing power generating) Turkish ships,” lamented Jumblat.
The Democratic Gathering leader's comments came after reports that energy Minister Cesar Abi Khalil suggested a new project to lease three power generating Turkish vessels, instead of two already present in Lebanon, to supply the country with needed power before the summer season begins. The step comes amid anticipations that Lebanon expects to receive favorable number of tourists this year.
When Minister Jebran Bassil was energy minister, Lebanon leased two Turkish power generating vessels to make up for the the Electricite du Liban's deficit.
Media reports said the estimated cost of chartering the ships costs Lebanon's treasury LBP 864 trillion, adding to the cost of providing fuel for the operation of these vessels, in addition to the cost of purchasing electricity from a company that generates solar energy.
The cabinet is set to convene on Monday to tackle the draft budget plan and study the plan submitted by Abi Khalil to improve electricity production.
Lebanon is plagued with frequent power cuts because of outdated and damaged infrastructure.
Local generator companies have filled the gap by providing power when state electricity cuts off -- but they often charge exorbitant prices.
The poor condition of the state's power infrastructure has been a major source of public frustration, and featured prominently in recent protests that saw thousands gather in central Beirut.
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