Sunday, May 16

AOUN HOLDS MEETINGS RELATED TO RATIONALIZATION OF SUBSIDIES AND THE LEVANTINE ECONOMIC MARKET

The economic situation was the focus of the meetings which were held today by President of the Republic, General Michel Aoun, especially the issue of rationalizing subsidies and the President’s proposal to establish an economic market which includes Arab Mashreq countries: Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Jordan.

Rationalization of Subsidies:

The President received a joint delegation from the Parliamentary Committee for National Economy, Trade, Industry and Planning, and the Economic and Social Council.

The delegation included: Chairman, MP Farid Boustany, Committee Reporter, MP Ali Bazzi, Chairman of the Economic and Social Council, Mr. Charles Arbid, Council Director General, Mr. Mohammed Said El-Din, and Council Vice-Chairman, Mr. Saad El-Din Hamidi Sakr.

President Aoun was handed the participatory paper which was agreed upon as an entry point to redirect subsidies, which was issued by a group of specialized experts and representatives of international institutions, who met in the presence and participation of several concerned ministers, MPs and political parties, where research focused on redirecting subsidies to those who deserve and achieving a just social policy.

The delegation proposed two strategic directions, first of which is to start quickly in implementing a number of urgent measures for a 12-month period, dealing with petrol, gas, diesel, medicines, wheat, electricity and other materials, in parallel with working to reduce public sector expenditures in US Dollars and transferring the current subsidy policy towards providing direct cash assistance in line with the gradual lifting of subsidies. The second strategy deals with implementation of rapid complementary measures associated with the start of work on the gradual lifting of subsidies.

The participatory paper also emphasized the necessity of understanding and cooperation with the International Monetary Fund and international organizations, based on an integrated government program for rescue, reform and recovery, in addition to the implementation of required reforms so that the social protection strategy becomes part of the program.

For his side, the President deliberated the mechanism to be adopted to implement this paper, describing it as important in this context, even if it was delayed for some time. President Aoun also stressed the need to seek quick and practical solutions for the issue of subsidies.

Levantine Economic Market:

President Aoun met a delegation from the National Authority to support his initiative which aims at regional cooperation and the establishment of an economic market which includes Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Jordan.

The delegation included: Dr. Ghada El-Yafi, Lawyer Bushra El-Khalil, Journalist Thoraya Assi, Dr. Hassan Jouni and Dr. Riad Khalifa.

The delegation conveyed the authority’s support for the initiative which the President had launched, which is integrated with the wider Arab market, that will also include other security, social and cultural fields in the future.

For his part, Dr. El-Yafi pointed out that the openness of these countries to each other will lead to the restoration of the historical connections that were deliberately cut, as well as the elimination of fabricated tensions, and thus to economic growth and prosperity supported by the re-networking and equal restoration of the infrastructure between those countries.

“This openness will contribute to stopping the depletion of the true wealth of our country, I mean migration in general, especially the brain drain and youth, as well as the migration of living forces of the distinctive historical components in our societies” El-Yafi said.

After that, the President responded and stressed that “Work must be done to put the idea of establishing a joint Arab-Levantine market into practice, thus creating a favorable atmosphere, and forming a majority of supporters with solidarity between them”.

“This will contribute to making this idea a pioneer among various peoples of the region, which requires coordination with Mashreq Arab countries, since the matter requires marketing and media activity, in addition to the exchange of expertise leading to the adoption of laws. In this context, common will is important” President Aoun added.

“This market would create more job opportunities and establish joint institutions and our goal is to keep our children on our land” the President concluded.

MP Roger Azar:

The President met MP, Roger Azar and addressed with him general affairs, Keserwan developmental needs, Jounieh Highway issue and Bouar governmental hospital kidney department.

Source: National News Agency