“Suspicious” advances and credits in the last session of the Lebanese government

Walid Fayyad, Minister of Energy, during a government session (Hussein Beydoun)

Tomorrow, Friday, the Lebanese Council of Ministers will hold its last session chaired by President Michel Aoun at the Baabda Republican Palace, before turning it into a caretaker in the face of fears with the end of parliament’s mandate on May 21. for “suspicious transactions” that will aggravate the suffering of citizens.

The agenda includes 133 items in an unprecedented record for the government of Prime Minister Najib Mikati, accompanied by billions of liras offered for spending. Forty-five items out of 133 were allocated to requests for advances and transfers of credits in very large amounts to a bankrupt state, which raises a number of questions as to how to insure it and whether the hand, as always , will extend to the deposits. of the Lebanese held in banks.

This large number of items that also affect appointments that are placed in the quota and benefits field raises questions as to whether another session will be allocated to complete the research, given the large number of them and the time it takes for discussion. . The session is also seen as an indication that the period of business will be extended, so the government will try to implement what the law prevents him from succeeding when, by virtue of his resignation, after the end of the mandate of the House of Representatives.

Some of the most prominent requests for advances and credit transfers are:

  • Approval of a draft resolution aimed at giving a treasury advance to the “Ogero” authority to provide the fuel and materials needed to operate and to pay the membership fees for private generators to operate the public telecommunications facility.
  • And the approval of a project aimed at giving Ogero a £ 350 billion treasury advance to cover the expenses and basic requirements for the operation and maintenance of the fixed network to ensure the continuity of the telecommunications sector .
  • The Ministry of Public Health has requested to give state hospitals a cash advance of 14 billion Lebanese pounds to pay financial assistance to employees and workers in state hospitals.
  • The Ministry of Finance has requested $ 10 million to secure funding for the continuation of work in its IT department. The Ministry of Defense has requested approval of a draft decision aimed at transferring a £ 200 billion allocation from the general budget reserve to the Army budget for 2022 on the twelve basis to cover the deficit in hospital treatment expenditure until the end of 2022.
  • To give the Development and Reconstruction Council a treasury advance of £ 5.1 billion to pay temporary social assistance.
  • The Ministry of Energy and Water has requested approval to give a treasury advance of £ 288 billion to the Development and Reconstruction Council, which has been awarded to pay the arrears for the maintenance and operation of sewerage systems and to cover these contracts. to 31/12/2022.
  • And a draft resolution aimed at transferring a £ 300 billion appropriation from the general budget reserve to the budget of the Presidency of the Council of Ministers – the General Directorate of State Security for 2022 based on the twelve-month rule for the security of mechanisms.
  • And requests approval to open an additional allocation of £ 28.070 million in the Lebanese University’s budget for the year 2022 to cover the cost of temporary social assistance to Lebanese University workers of all their names for the months of November and December 2021 to cover.
  • Draft decision aims to transfer credits amounting to 394 269 000 pounds to the economy’s budget for 2022 based on the twelve month rule.
  • The agenda of the last session includes the presentation of the Deputy Prime Minister, His Excellency Al-Shami, the strategy for the promotion of the financial sector and a memorandum on economic and financial policy, and the recovery plan will be discussed, taking into account of that it may not undergo any fundamental amendments.

Doubts about items

Similarly, the Ministry of Finance requested a review of how some taxes and fees are levied, and the Ministry of Health requested approval of a request from the Banque du Liban for an amount of $ 35 million per month for the next four months for the need to pay. to buy medicines for incurable, chronic and cancerous diseases, medical supplies, milk and raw materials for the medicine industry.Economy: Agree to support the cultivation of wheat and barley, set an encouraging price, and receive their crops for the 2022 -season.

The Council of Ministers will make an inventory of the election process to evaluate it, provided that each minister presents the reality of his sector and his demands within the framework of the execution of work therein, and items will be presented off the agenda.

The lawyer in the Association of Depositors, Dina Abu Zour, in her interview with Al-Araby Al-Jadeed, believes that there are “attempts to pass on items that have been suspended during the last period, or the ministers have counted on them to postpone and then to crystallize them, “and regard the session as” a handshake, and that they did what they had to do. “And they tried to give what they could to the benefit of their group.

Abu Zour added: “We are facing 133 items, which is the last 133” Tariqa “(transaction) they are trying to succeed in an appropriate atmosphere before the government turns into a caring government.

Abu Zour dwelled on a remarkable item related to the increase in fees and taxes without knocking with any talk of an increase in wages, considering that this item could succeed after the general budget was approved.

Abu Zour says: “We do not know on what basis numbers and billions are collected and credits opened, and the state is actually unable to ensure 0% of the simplest things to run certain sectors, or do they want depositors ‘s money drains that we no longer know their total, and no accurate figures about them are issued by the Banque du Liban. ” Do they rely on donations or a recovery plan? The picture is no longer clear. “

The lawyer in the Association of Depositors believes that “there is a complete decoupling of financial reality, and the required budget exceeds the capacity of a country experiencing its worst economic and living crises, and the items offered ‘. a lengthy study, not to be passed at the last session. “

Tariff increase

She points out that there are many points and items that, if approved by the Council of Ministers, have to go through other stages, either by publishing them in the Official Gazette or referring them to Parliament and parliamentary committees, and so on, for the road is connected to each other.

When talking about telecommunications and electricity tariff increases, Abu Zour stops and asks, “How will citizens be able to insure money and pay these tariffs while their wages are still the same?”, Stressing that the reform must be vertical, start with wages and upwards.

And coincides with the holding of the last session of the Council of Ministers on Friday, a sit-in for contracting professors at the Lebanese University in front of the Republican Palace, with the participation of a number of elected representatives to approve the full-time file .

Similarly, a sit-in for cancer patients and Lebanese patients is being held at the invitation of the Syndicate of Pharmacists Joe Salloum, which coincides with the session held at the entrances of the Republican Palace, to demand “the development of a clear plan to secure medicine for patients in the coming months and a call for a donors’ conference for the drug sector before it becomes a caretaker government. ” .

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