Head of the Kataeb's Social and Economic Council Jean Tawile on Thursday slammed the ruling political authority’s failure on all levels, saying that it cannot be given a second chance because it will surely fail again.
“We demand this authority to step down and give way to a new one that would solve the country's problems before it collapses,” Tawile told Arab Economics News, questioning the government's hurry to go through with CEDRE conference, to be hosted in Paris next month, without achieving any reforms.
"The budget is firstly a constitutional and legal duty, not an option or an accomplishment; therefore, it should not be approved under the pressure of international conferences, noting that the government has already crossed the constitutional deadline to approve it,” he said.
Tawile described the budget, as proposed by the government, as "disastrous", pinpointing the outrageous flaws marring it.
“The state deficit is expected to transcend $7 billion, thus making up 12.5% of the gross domestic product (GDP). This is an unprecedented record [...] noting that the public debt has already exceeded 150% of the GDP,” Tawile stated.
“Expenditures have also increased by $5 billion in one year (2017-2018) while the government is bragging about cutting them by $1 billion," he added.
Tawile then addressed each of the reasons that the government has presented to justify this flagrant spending hike.
“The cost of the salary scale has increased from $1.2 to $1.9 billion, which is a scandal of $700 million that will be covered by the people’s money through taxes,” he said.
Tawile criticized the government's claim that the taxes it has imposed did not yield the expected sum of revenues, noting that it did not pay heed to the Kataeb party's call for an impact study that determines the exact cost of the salary scale and the revenues that the levies will generate.
Tawileh also blasted on the government’s pretext that more funds are needed to cover the salaries of 4500 public employees who have been hired despite a hire freeze decision taken by the government itself.
Tawile stressed that the Kataeb party will be unveiling its electoral platform on Sunday, saying that it includes a socio-economic plan which is based on the following guidelines:
- Controlling tax evasion which is estimated to be around $5 billion
- Reducing the budget’s deficit amid the suicidal rate that it is currently standing at
- Forging fiscal justice by making sure that the relevant laws would target all social categories equally, so that levies won't end up being applied on the poor while the rich get to evade it
- Cutting random employment in the public sector by seeking the help of an international consultancy firm
- Adopting private-public partnership (PPP) in the power sector until a 24/24 supply is secured, tariffs are reconsidered and the deficit is cleared.