BEIRUT: Lawmakers approved a series of tax hikes on Monday, in a parliamentary session that increased the Value Added Tax (VAT) from 10 to 11 percent
During a session headed by Speaker Nabih Berri, MPs voted to ratify a new tax law, thus securing the necessary funds to ensure the continued payment of increased wages for public sector workers.
The Constitutional Council had overturned a tax law ratified by Parliament last month, deeming it in violation of the Lebanese Constitution.
The session also yielded endorsements for a LL 2500 fee on landline phone bills, a LL 250 fee on prepaid cell phone cards, a LL 6000 fee on every ton of cement produced, as well as a LL 250 fee on cigarettes packs and a 10 percent levy on cigars.
A LL 5000 fee was also implemented on non Lebanese individuals entering Lebanon through land, as well as a LL 150000 exit fee on all first class travelers, a LL 50000 exit fee on those travelling economy class and a LL 400000 on those travelling on a private jet.
Other taxes are also expected to be approved when the General Assembly reconvenes at 6 pm.
Speaking to reporters, Berri asserted the importance of implementing the tax amendments, saying that “failing to do so will hurt Lebanon’s economic standing and negatively affect its currency”. He also called for a 3 pm meeting with the Parliament’s Secretariat to debate the state budget draft law which should be “implemented by the end of the month at the latest.”
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