No new taxes in 2020 budget. Many of the 94 public institutions and facilities are no longer needed - Lebanon

No new taxes
in 2020 budget
Many of the 94 public institutions

and facilities are no longer needed

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The 2020 draft budget does not include any additional taxes or fees, said Minister of Finance Ali Hassan Khalil.

Khalil said he will oppose the imposition of new taxes and fees when the budget is discussed by the Cabinet.

In the 2020 budget, the primary surplus is projected at 3.2 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) and the government is committed to raising this surplus further in 2021 and 2022, according to Khalil.

He said that after the primary surplus targets are achieved, borrowing will be confined in the future to investment expenditure only. Khalil said the ministry is working to attain this goal.

A large number of 94 public institutions and public facilities are no longer needed by the State, according to Khalil. Some of these entities could be merged with other public institutions. Some of them have to cut their spending, while others have to provide the Treasury with additional revenues, he said.

The budgets of a number of public institutions, such as the Port Authority of Beirut, the wheat silos, and water establishments, will require the authorization of the Ministry of Finance (MoF), according to the new budget law.

The MoF has submitted draft laws to the Cabinet that include a law for public procurement and public tenders, a law to enforce tax compliance and prevent tax evasion, and a new customs law. The MoF has also submitted a plan to reform the pension system, Khalil said.

The draft budget also proposes the dissolution of the National Investment Guarantee Corporation, which is under the authority of the MoF, he said.
Reported by Shikrallah Nakhoul
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Date Posted: Sep 19, 2019