Extra spending bill failed to pass committee
Parliament to vote on $6.8 billion extra-budgetary spending draft law next week
The Finance and Budgetary Parliamentary Committee has failed to approve a draft law authorizing Cabinet to spend $6.8 billion to cover additional public expenditures this year. Committee members were split over the bill.
According to former Minister of Finance Raya El Hassan, the implementation of the decree is still vague. “It is not yet clear whether the credits will be allocated based on the 2005 budget or on the new 2012 budget draft,” Hassan said. She said that it is not practical to increase spending unless there are additional revenues coming into public coffers.
The decree stated that the loans should be covered within no longer than one year through the 2012 budget law or through a special law if the budget was not passed.
Parliament is set to meet next week, on July 2 and 3, to vote on a proposed draft law on the extra-budgetary spending.
Former Minister of Finance, Jihad Azour, said that the priority is for adopting a national budget. The draft law was pointless, he said, especially as the 2012 draft budget is awaiting approval in Cabinet.
Lebanon has been without a state budget for the last seven years. Public spending has since been made through a standard 12-month budget plan based upon the spending pattern of the last approved budget which was in 2005.
Successive governments have all exceeded the budgetary ceiling set by this plan. In order to issue a budget for this year, it has been a proposed that all extra-budgetary spending, some $17 billlion spent over the past years, be reconcilled through a special law.
Reported by Abeer Darwiche
Date Posted: Jun 26, 2012