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Tue 22 Oct 2019 08:01 AM

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Explained: What Lebanon's government announced in its emergency economic reforms

Prime Minister Saad Hariri announced the measures in a televised press conference and the details of the package were published later in a statement

Explained: What Lebanon's government announced in its emergency economic reforms
Prime Minister of Lebanon Saad Al Hariri

Lebanon's embattled government on Monday approved a series of far-reaching economic reforms aimed at addressing some of the grievances of an unprecedented mass protest movement.

Prime Minister Saad Hariri announced the measures in a televised press conference and the details of the package were published later in a statement.

Here are the key points:

Public finances

  • Reduction of state deficit to 0.63 percent of GDP in 2020, down from 7.59 percent in the 2019 budget
  • The salaries of active and former presidents, ministers and lawmakers are slashed by half
  • Ministry of information and other government bodies abolished to cut costs
  • Banking sector to contribute 5.1 trillion Lebanese pounds ($3.4 billion) to deficit reduction
  • State electricity company's deficit to be slashed by one trillion Lebanese pounds ($663 million)
  • Launch of a plan to partially or fully privatise several sectors and public firms, including mobile phone operators, the Port of Beirut and national carrier Middle East Airlines

Social measures

  • New pension and welfare systems by the end of the year
  • A 20-billion-pound ($13.5 million) boost to a fund for Lebanon's poorest and acceleration of a World Bank loan to support them
  • 160-million cash injection to support housing loans
  • Amnesty law to be adopted by end of 2019

Anti-corruption measures

  • Establishment of a national anti-corruption body
  • Halt to state financing of infrastructure projects, which are to be developed by alternative funding including direct foreign investment
  • Crackdown on smuggling with scanners and other measures
  • Bill on the recovery of embezzled public funds

Infrastructure

  • Permits to be granted within four months for the construction of power plants to tackle chronic blackouts
  • Launch of the first phase of an infrastructure investment plan agreed in April 2018
  • Major roadworks to facilitate access to Beirut
  • Creation of regulatory authorities for the energy, telecommunications and civil aviation sectors and the stock exchange