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Lebanon: Hariri announces economic reform package after days of anti-gov. protests

1 22.10.2019 Инфо

*NO CUTAWAYS AT SOURCE*
SOT, Saad Hariri, Prime Minister of Lebanon (Arabic): "A budget deficit of 0.6%, and does not include any new or additional taxes on people. Second, the banking sector and the Bank of Lebanon will contribute to reducing the deficit by 5,100 billion Lebanese pounds during 2020, including a tax increase on the profits of banks. Third, a 50 percent reduction in salaries of current and former lawmakers and ministers. Fourth, a reduction in the budget of the Development and Reconstruction Committee, the Fund for the Displaced and the Committee of the South by 70 percent."
SOT, Saad Hariri, Prime Minister of Lebanon (Arabic): "These decisions are not to barter, they are not to ask you to stop protesting or expressing anger, this is something that you decide. And we are not giving you a deadline, and I will not allow anyone to threaten or intimidate you. It is the duty of the State to protect you and your peaceful expression of your rightful demands."
SOT, Saad Hariri, Prime Minister of Lebanon (Arabic): "You have to know your voice is being heard and if early election is something that you want in order to make sure that your voice is being [heard] then I, Saad Hariri, will personally support you in this."
SOT, Saad Hariri, Prime Minister of Lebanon (Arabic): "You have put the Lebanese national identity back in its place above all sectarian or religious identity and this is the biggest national victory."
SCRIPT
Prime Minister of Lebanon Saad Hariri announced during a televised address in Beirut on Monday that after his imposed 72-hour deadline he and his government partners had agreed to an economic reform package, after days of anti-government protests rocked Lebanon.
The reform package which Hariri announced includes a 50 percent salary reduction for government officials and members of parliament as well as a directive to the banking sector and the Bank of Lebanon to "reduce the deficit by 5,100 billion Lebanese pounds ($3.4 billion or €3 billion) during 2020, including a tax increase on the profits of banks."
"These decisions are not to barter, they are not to ask you to stop protesting or expressing anger, this is something that you decide. And we are not giving you a deadline, and I will not allow anyone to threaten or intimidate you. It is the duty of the State to protect you and your peaceful expression of your rightful demands," the Lebanese PM added during his address.
Hariri went on to express his willingness to "personally support" early elections to make sure the voice of protesters is heard.
Over the last five days Lebanon has been gripped by mass protests, believed to be the country's largest since 2015, as demonstrators took to the streets to voice their discontent with deteriorating living conditions, austerity measures, capital flight and the rise of the deficit and public debt.