The President of the Council of Ministers Saad Hariri said that approving the draft state budget is an essential goal for the government, and hoped the budget discussion will be completed during the successive meetings held by the cabinet for this purpose.

He said, addressing a delegation from the economic bodies headed by former Minister Adnan Kassar: “A lot is being said in the media about a package of taxes and fees to be imposed on the citizens, particularly those with limited income, and on some sectors, including the banking sector. I want to clarify once and for all that discussions regarding the issue of new taxes and fees are moving positively in the cabinet, and take into consideration the balance between the citizens’ interests, the interest of the economic sectors and ensuring additional resources to finance the budget.”

He added: “Everyone knows that the economic situation is witnessing a state of flounder. And the aim is not to impose new taxes and fees but to hold a practical discussion to define the taxes and fees that should be applied, that have the least impact on the economic growth and on the low-income class and that secure the necessary revenues to the treasury.”

Hariri said: “The discussions in the cabinet are open and aim to find a balance between the needs of the private sector, of the citizens and of the state. On the other hand, there is a package of incentives to stimulate the private sector that we are seeking to include in the draft state budget.”

Hariri said that approving the ranks and salaries scale is being studied by the cabinet, and in case it is approved, it should be linked to administrative reforms and ensuring financial resources to finance them. Without these reforms and the commitment to implement them, the ranks and salaries scale cannot be approved because it is not possible to increase salaries and wages without improving productivity in the public sector and activating public administration.

As for increasing the electricity tariff, Hariri said: “I personally believe that it is not permissible to increase the tariff before increasing and improving electricity hours.”

He concluded: “We are developing a new plan to deal with the issue of displaced Syrians, and we plan to benefit from the international support for this issue by developing the infrastructure used by the Syrian displaced especially the roads, schools, universities, hospitals, electricity and water sectors”.

For his part, Kassar said: “Our visit to Premier Hariri comes in the context of the continuous consultation on all national issues. We discussed the economic situation in light of the cabinet’s discussion of the 2017 draft budget and the government’s directives.

We praised the dynamism and vitality of the work of the government headed by Premier Saad Hariri and its keenness to pay due attention to the economic and socio-economic files and to the security situation. The cabinet is also eager to approve a new budget after the absence of any budget since 2005 and this is a positive indicator of the determination of the government and the new term to resolve the issue of settlement accounts.

This also shows that the concerned authorities are determined to control and rationalize spending, and improve the collection of public revenues according to defined objectives and priorities that would stimulate growth and correct the state finances.

Our meeting with Premier Hariri was very good. He expressed his willingness to continue the discussions and we have full confidence that he will take the necessary steps and he has our full support.

Premier Hariri showed understanding of the concerns of the economic bodies regarding new taxes to finance the budget deficit, which would lead to further strain the national economy, which is already suffering from sharp recession because of the crises that the country experienced since the beginning of the presidential vacuum and that continues due to the absence of foreign investments.

The delegation told the prime minister that the first step to finance the budget deficit would be to stop the rampant wastage in the state’s institutions, improve tax collection and end the increased squander in public institutions. All this would be essential to the reform that has become urgent in light of the growing corruption.”

Source: National News Agency

syrianewsgazette.comGeneral
The President of the Council of Ministers Saad Hariri said that approving the draft state budget is an essential goal for the government, and hoped the budget discussion will be completed during the successive meetings held by the cabinet for this purpose. He said, addressing a delegation from the...