BEIRUT: Lebanon's Cabinet endorsed Thursday its new policy statement, shaping the new government's political and economic agenda for upcoming years.
The newly appointed ministers gathered for a session headed by President Michel Aoun at Baabda Presidential Palace to discuss the nine-article statement.
Lebanon faces an arduous task to alleviate its economic concerns, with the statement alluding to key economic and financial reforms to unlock $11 billion in international aid secured in Paris last year.
In April 2018, the international community offered a substantial package comprised of soft loans and grants aimed at boosting its infrastructure and private sector, with these funds yet to see the light of day pending drastic sectoral reforms.
These include investments worth five billion and four billion dollars in the transportation and electricity sectors, respectively, among others.
To curb Lebanon's budget deficit, which has ballooned to over 150 percent of GDP, the Cabinet will seek to reduce the deficit by 1 percent each year over the next five years by limiting government expenditures, namely subsidies to state-owned Electrité Du Liban before cutting them off completely.
In respect to Lebanon's potential offshore oil and gas reserves, the statement vows to secure the country's maritime borders before undergoing the second phase of tenders before the end of the year.
Last year, Lebanon signed its first offshore oil and gas exploration and production agreements for two blocks after approving two bids by an international consortium of energy companies, comprising France’s Total, Italy’s Eni and Russia’s Novatek.
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