Kataeb leader Samy Gemayel on Thursday commented on recent remarks made by Finance Minister Ali Hassan Khalil regarding illegal smuggling routes, reiterating his call for ending tax evasion and smuggling in order to reduce the budget deficit.
"From the beginning, we have been saying that the main gateway to reducing the deficit without resorting to tax hikes is to control smuggling through land and sea borders and to fight tax evasion by empowering the audit control bodies and enforcing the law across the entire Lebanese territory," Gemayel wrote on Twitter.
“But the main question is: What will you do?”
In a joint news conference held on Wednesday with the head of the state-owned Regie tobacco company to address the problems facing the tobacco sector in Lebanon, Khalil admitted that the treasury is incurring heavy losses due to smuggling from the Syrian border.
The minister said that there are more than 124 illegal smuggling routes between Lebanon and Syria, acknowledging that it is a hard task to shut them all.
Khalil deemed smuggling as one of the main problems behind the depletion of public finances as it prevents the Treasury from achieving the aspired revenues.