The Lebanese government approved on Thursday the 2001-draft budget targeting a deficit of 50.87 percent of expenditures compared to an actual 56 percent in 2000. The draft budget is still awaiting parliamentary approval before taking effect.
The Cabinet session, chaired by President Emile Lahoud, rejected the controversial proposal of imposing 5,000 Lebanese pound ($3.3) on all fixed and mobile-line bills aimed at financing the state-run media.
The proposal will be replaced by LP30 billion ($19.9 mililon) allocated to Tele-Liban, while around LP23 billion ($15.3 million) will be assigned to Radio Liban and the National News Agency.
In its attempt to cut expenses, the Cabinet approved a proposal to merge the three state-media entities, and to transfer surplus employees to the Civil Service Council to be appointed to other governmental departments.
Furthermore, the Cabinet approved the suspension of the 5 percent tax on restaurants, hotels and nightclubs during the Shopping Festival. — (Banque du Liban et d'Outre-Mer Sal )
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com )