The cost of Parliamentary
paralysis may be $1.2 billion
Minister of Finance says projects
at risk are held by the World Bank
The country will lose $1.2 billion if Parliament continues not to holding meetings, according to the Minister of Finance, Ali Hassan Khalil.
“We have to bring Parliament back to work again. The (MoF), in particular, is aware about the harm resulting from the absence of legislation,” said Khalil today.
“There is a risk of losing $600 million in loans approved by the World Bank, which still require Parliament’s approval. If Parliament fails to hold meetings, Lebanon is at risk of losing its opportunities in the World Bank’s next plan of funded projects, which may reach around $1.2 billion,” he said.
“Four main World Bank projects still require Parliament’s approval, including the Water Supply Augmentation Project, known as ‘Besri Dam’, the Mobile Internet Ecosystem Project, the Fiscal Management Reform 2 project, and the Environmental Pollution Abatement Project,” said Mouna Couzi, Country Operations Officer at the World Bank-Lebanon. “All these are development projects that help the growth of Lebanon in the long term. Their approval is essential to starting their implementation,” she said.
Couzi said that the “World Bank is not intending to stop any future projects for Lebanon, but rather aims to accelerate the legislative process.” She said that the upcoming projects are still in the pipeline. “We are still working on our strategy for the upcoming six years and are in a consultation phase with the Government,” she said.
Members of Parliament failed many times to convene for a legislative session to elect a President, due to a constant lack of quorum due to disagreements among different political parties about a qualified candidate.
“When we assumed our duty, we thought that this failure to convene by Parliament was temporary,” said Kahlil. “We must elect a President, re-launch the work of institutions and put a plan to follow up the developments in the region,” he said.
Reported by Leila Rahbani
Date Posted: May 11, 2015