Ministers Wednesday made significant progress on a key reform tied to unlocking CEDRE loans and have nearly finalized the numbers for the 2020 budget, Finance Minister Ali Hasan Khalil said.
“There is progress in the discussion of the budget, which is almost finished at the level of figures,” Khalil said, following a meeting of a ministerial committee tasked with studying economic and structural reforms.
He said that ministers had undertaken a deep study of a new Customs law, developed in cooperation with the European Union, that represents “one of the biggest [reforms] asked for at CEDRE.”
The proposed new legislation, Khalil said, would make a “substantial, structural difference in Customs and will increase the state’s income,” as well as making it easier for the public to deal with the directorate. Khalil said that after a little more scrutiny, the law would make its way to Cabinet for approval, at which point it could be implemented without first going to Parliament for ratification. “All political sides agree to it,” he explained.
Ministers also began to study reforms to the retirement system that Khalil said had been formulated in cooperation with the World Bank, which made the single-largest pledge at CEDRE of $4 billion.
A host of nations pledged more than $11 billion in grants and soft loans to Lebanon at the April 2018 CEDRE conference. The funds were conditional upon Lebanon adopting a series of structural reforms, fighting corruption and reducing its budget deficit.
The Daily Star