Geagea Proposes Financial Reforms, Hits Out at Kataeb

Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea on Monday suggested a series of measures aimed at improving the State’s financial situation, amid a growing debate in the country about the approval of the long-stalled new wage scale and taxes aimed at funding it.

In an apparent jab at the Kataeb Party over its participation in protests against the proposed taxes, Geagea said “a party that since 2005 has taken part in all governments except for the past two months decried corruption and public funds waste yesterday, but let them remember that waste and corruption are not new.”

“How did you take part in all governments and today you are saying no to waste and no to corruption?” he asked.

“The worst form of exploitation is when someone tries to exploit people’s suffering and our objective since the state budget debate started has been to put an end to the squandering of public funds before resorting to taxes,” Geagea added.

Referring to Sunday’s mass rally in Riad al-Solh, the LF leader said: “In addition to the real picture that we witnessed yesterday in Riad al-Solh, there was a totally fake scene, such as the presence of Maj. Gen. Jamil al-Sayyed who had supported the (Syrian) tutelage era that was rife with corruption.”

Geagea then proposed the following package for reforming Lebanon’s financial situation:

– Slashing funds earmarked for the 2017 state budget from 26 to 22 billion dollars

– Austerity and curbing expenditure.

– Involving the private sector in energy production

– Putting an end to tax evasion, which currently amounts to “50 percent”

– Controlling customs revenues and the illegal land, air and sea entrances

– Suspending administrative appointments