Along the coastal highway in Batroun, north of Beirut, is a billboard that reads “Lebanon is now an oil producer.” For now, that is optimism, not reality. Offshore wells will not be drilled before 2019, and until they are, the extent of Lebanon’s oil and gas reserves—if they exist—will remain unknown. But with an answer finally on the horizon, a draft law has been introduced in Parliament to decide how to spend the dollars that could eventually come gushing forth.
Executive's in house energy and public policy analyst
Lebanon could license the construction of nearly 380 megawatts (MW) of renewable energy plants as early as this summer, a Ministry of Energy and Water (MoEW) official tells Executive. This would mean a rise in generation capacity of just over 20 percent — a far cry from satisfying the country’s demand for power.
Lebanon is closer to ratifying a national budget than it has been in recent memory. For the past 12 years, the country has not passed a budget into law. In recent years the roadblock has been, at least publicly, a salary increase for certain public sector workers. The debate is taking place in a fiscal environment where the money to raise public spending is non-existent, so the revenue needs to be created – through new taxes. To fund the salary increase, some economists and some politicians are arguing for reforming public spending rather than setting new taxes.