NNA - Finance Minister Ali Hassan Khalil said "Regardless of the report of the International Monetary Fund, we need to take structural reform steps to rationalize public spending in the sectors of electricity, tax evasion and customs, and to impose reform measures on the administration."
"The 2019 budget is not enough to achieve all the reforms, but it is a good first step," Khalil said in a TV interview.
He pointed out that "there was no issues with the army topic, but a difference of views which will be resolved in the last session. (...) I confirm that we are not a bankrupt country, and that there is a clear intention to join ranks to manage the financial and banking situation in cooperation with the Central Bank. We are able to withstand and continue, but this does not exempt the House of Representatives and the government from taking reform measures starting with the budget of 2019. Political stability remains essential to maintain investors' confidence."
"We are not on the verge of collapse, even if we are in a difficult situation. The budget is a watershed for a bigger reform project. We are confident of our ability to continue," the Finance Minister confirmed.
"Sanctions concern all the Lebanese, even if they are under Hezbollah's name. The measures taken by Lebanon and the laws issued by international bodies, make these sanctions unjustified and detrimental to financial stability. We are committed to all the legal standards related to this issue. Lebanon and its banks are committed to all legislations, and there is no justification whatsoever to amplifying these sanctions," he stressed.