Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri announced that the Lebanese Cabinet has agreed to all points of his economic reform package and the 2020 draft state budget, which he says will have a 0.6 percent deficit that will be partially paid for by a tax on banks. Banks, according to Hariri, will contribute $3.4 billion in reducing the deficit.
“Your demonstrations returned the national identity where it belongs,” said the PM.
On the streets, protesters continue to call for the government’s resignation.
The highlights of the “tangible reforms” of his proposal include:
- Cutting salaries for current and former officials by half
- Privatizing the telecoms sector, currently oligopolized by Touch and Alfa
- Working towards providing 24-hour electricity by mid-2020
- Removing any new austerity taxes placed
- Discontinuing the information ministry and other government bodies
- Speeding up the licensing of power plants
- A 70 percent budget cut to the Lebanese Council for Development and Reconstruction
- Passing an Old Age Security program by the end of the year
- An additional 20 billion to support families under the poverty line
- Investing $160 million to support housing loans
- Creating an anti-corruption body in the government