Lebanese Cabinet Agrees On Reforms after 5 Days of Protests
By Staff, Agencies
After five day of popular protests that paralyzed the country, Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri Monday announced that a series of reforms were agreed on during a Cabinet session, while adding that the draft budget aims to bring down the deficit to 0.6% of the country’s GDP.
Hariri was speaking during a session held at Baabda Palace, against the backdrop of nationwide anti-government protests. Ministers discussed and approved Hariri's economic blueprint as well as the draft 2020 state budget with the 0.6 percent deficit to GDP ratio, with banks set to participate in the deficit reduction to the tune of L.L.5.1 trillion [$3.4 billion].
The Lebanese Premier added that there was an agreement that the salaries of former and current MPs and ministers will be cut by 50 percent, in addition to approving a law to return looted public funds.
He added that a study will be carried out to privatize mobile phone companies, while announcing that the Information Ministry and other governmental bodies will be eliminated.
Hariri also addressed the protesters, telling them that it was their right to the take to the streets and that it was up to them to decide when to leave.
"The decisions that we have taken might not fulfill your demands, but they fulfill what I have been calling for," he said. "I will not allow anyone to scare you, and it's the government's duty to protect your peaceful demands."