Parliament to debate state budget on Tuesday

Public debt has almost doubled in the 12 years since the last state budget was drafted, reaching $75 billion, while estimates of the country’s debt to GDP ratio are at 157 percent.

11 October 2017 | 15:06

Source: Annahar

  • By Georgi Azar
  • Source: Annahar
  • Last update: 11 October 2017 | 15:06

Speaker Nabih Berri chairs a general assembly meeting. (Annahar Photo)

BEIRUT: Speaker Nabih Berri called on Wednesday a three-day legislative session to debate the 2017 annual state budget draft law next week.

Although Lebanon’s Constitution (Article 87) requires an audit of the state’s previous financial accounts before a state budget law can be approved, Berri has set a date for the annual state budget to be discussed, after lawmakers inserted a clause in the bill.

The clause stipulates that the Ministry of Finance must complete the audit of the current and previous administrations' financial accounts within one year of ratifying the 2017 budget.

Lebanon has been without a budget since 2005, leading to extra-budgetary spending that has hampered the economy, running it close to bankruptcy.

Public debt has almost doubled in the 12 years since the last state budget was drafted, reaching $75 billion, while estimates of the country’s debt to GDP ratio are at 157 percent.

The state budget has been on the books for the better part of the year, with numerous delays hindering its passage through the legislative pipeline.

With disputes regarding the salary scale law and tax law seemingly resolved, after months of political infighting, Lebanon may soon regain some sense of control in terms of its state finances, and thus boost its economy by attracting foreign investments and additional funds from Western donors.


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