Government Fails to Finalize Budget Draft Amid Lingering Divergences

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Government Fails to Finalize Budget Draft Amid Lingering Divergences

The government on Wednesday failed to wrap up the budget talks although it was expected to carry out the final reading of the draft, thus further delaying the approval of the 2019 financial plan.

The Cabinet scheduled a 19th session to discuss the budget draft on Friday after Prime Minister Saad Hariri gave ministers 48 hours to come up with new proposals.

"Why don't we give ourselves 48 hours? If the deficit can be brought down from 7.5% to 7.4% or 7.3%, then why not?" Information Minister Jamal Jarrah said following the session.

Jarrah told reporters that the projected deficit has been so far reduced to 7.5% of the GDP.

Tensions have been prevailing over the latest few sessions amid persisting divergences between Finance Minister Ali Hassan Khalil and Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil.

While Khalil considered that the budget was close to be endorsed, Bassil said that his party was not satisfied with the draft and a deficit of 7% must be fetched.

Source: Kataeb.org