Government Schedules 15th Session to Discuss Draft Budget

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Government Schedules 15th Session to Discuss Draft Budget

The government failed on Friday to finalize the 2019 draft budget talks, scheduling a 15th session over the weekend.

"The last session to discuss the draft budget will be held Sunday at 21:30," Telecom Minister Mohammad Choukeir told reporters following the session held at the Grand Serail.

Information Minister Jamal Jarrah said that the government has approved major decisions on curbing tax and customs evasion, noting municipalities will now be obliged to declare to the Finance Ministry all businesses established within its boundaries in a bid to counter tax evasion.

The minister revealed that the Cabinet is mulling the reduction of the daily transportation allowance for public sector employees from LBP 8000 to LBP 6000.

"We are considering the option of separating the private sector from the public sector. A final decision is yet to be taken,” he said.

Concerning the application of the Measure 3 in the new budget, Jarrah told reporters that it was agreed that both the Interior and Defense ministers would submit their proposals to the Higher Defense Council which would accordingly take a decision and submit it to the government for final endorsement.

Under "Measure 3", one year of frontline service is counted as three when it comes to calculating soldiers' end-of-career compensation. However, the government is considering that only soldiers serving at the frontline with Israel would benefit from a financial incentive.

For his part, Finance Minister Ali Hassan Khalil said that he had submitted to the prime minister the final version of the draft budget that includes the figures approved by the government during previous sessions, adding that the updated blueprint will be distributed to the ministers.