HARIRI: OUR GOVERNMENT ACHIEVED A LOT IN 3 MONTHS

This is the statement made by President of the Council of Ministers Saad Hariri during the parliamentary session to assess the government’s performance:

“This government was formed with a new term that gave the Lebanese the hope of restoring the respect of the state and its legitimate institutions. Three months after the government won the vote of confidence, we return to the parliament with many achievements. The government’s commitment to the policy statement in this short period of time is a clear commitment that reflects the governmental solidarity and the effort exerted to address several chronic demands.

First: We committed in the policy statement to have a new electoral law and to hold the parliamentary elections according to this law. The issue of the electoral law has been there for years and it has been placed in the hands of the political forces, which are all represented in parliament, and most of them are present in the government.

This issue has reached the final point and there is no escape from a new law. We are in a race with the constitutional deadlines and this new law is a national responsibility just as it is the responsibility of the government. We in the government bet on a political agreement that would be translated in the cabinet and the bet continues. But if you want to move discussions and negotiations to the cabinet table, we are ready to do so. The government is committed to hold the parliamentary elections and reject the vacuum in the legislative authority and this would be achieved by a new law, and I will insist in Cabinet that we submit a draft law soon, and the cabinet will hold a meeting on Monday to discuss it and when we approve it we will send it to parliament.

Second: This government worked on compensating the delay in the gas and oil sector, and approved the decrees related to it. It also launched a licensing session and approved the draft law on tax provisions of the sector and announced Lebanon’s intention to join the Arab initiative for transparency in extractive industries.

Third: The government held 16 meetings to discuss the draft budget law of 2017, completed it and sent it to parliament. The deficit in this budget is expected to be less than the deficit of last year. In one month we will also start preparations for the 2018 state budget. The government also took a number of decisions to stimulate the economy, control squander and benefit the revenues without adding burdens to the low income class. The government also made the necessary appointments in the customs starting with the general director to the remaining members in an attempt to control the land borders, airport and ports to combat customs evasion and squander.

Fourth: The government prepared a three year contingency plan for the electricity sector that will provide non-stop electricity. At the same time there will be no need to finance the electricity from the treasury. The plan involves the private sector in the production, and the transfer from fuel to gas for power generation and alternative energies.

Fifth: The government prepared a new vision to deal with the displaced Syrians, based on economic stability and development. I discussed this vision during several Arab and international meetings and with concerned ministers, just as we did yesterday in Brussels conference. We ask the international community to shoulder its responsibility and invest in Lebanon to enable our infrastructure and public services to carry the pressure resulting from displacement and in order to re-launch growth and job opportunities especially for the youth.

Sixth: The government achieved the security appointments and this gave a great thrust for the work of the military and security institutions. The government’s decision to invest in the legitimate security and combating terrorism and outlaws is a decisive decision that had national and political consensus and security is the responsibility of the state and its legitimate institutions.

Seventh: During the last three months, there were massive efforts to correct our relations with Arab countries, and in this respect I would like to praise the initiatives of president Michel Aoun, his visits to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Egypt, Lebanon’s participation in the Arab summit and the speech he delivered which touched the souls of all Arabs. Lebanon is an inseparable part of the Arab world, and Lebanon’s presence under the ceiling of Arab solidarity is a brotherly commitment that we stress, and it is in Lebanon’s interest to cooperate with its brothers and not deny their role in supporting us.

Eight: The government completed the book of conditions for security and technical equipment at the Rafic Hariri International Airport, including detection machines, cameras, etc Also a workshop on the safety of the airport’s security in cooperation with the European Union was completed. This workshop complies with the requirements of the World Civil Aviation Organization.

The government achieved a lot in such a short time as a result of the solidarity among its members and the seriousness in dealing with the files. But we still have a lot to do to achieve the hopes of the Lebanese to live in dignity. We are determined to continue the achievements and regain the confidence that is the emblem of our government. Here I would like to thank your parliament for cooperating for the country’s interest and we are ready to answer any question.”

Source: National News Agency