Kataeb MP Elias Hankache on Monday described the 2019 State Budget as unfit as recognized by its decision-makers, noting that what is more dangerous than illegal smuggling routes is smuggling through legal routes such as Beirut port, customs, and the airport.
“How can we trust this government when the Finance Minister Ali Hassan Khalil verified the presence of 136 illegal smuggling routes while the Defense Minister Elias Bou Saab only declares the presence of 10?” Hankache questioned since the two ministers belong to the same government.
“This budget is unconstitutional and fictitious aimed at appeasing the international CEDRE donor countries,” Hankache said in an interview on LBCI channel.
He asserted that the government is incapable of meeting the figures it has set in the budget.
“The legislative sessions we witnessed in the past days epitomize a legal parliamentary ‘Schizophrenia,’” Hankache criticized, pointing out that it is illogical to have been discussing the 2019 budget mid-year without finalizing the audit of previous years’ accounts.
“The 3% Value-Added Tax (VAT) interests are disguised. The National Unity Government turns out to be a heresy resembling a honeymoon phase in its allocations and partitioning and problems over the simplest things upon the rise of conflicting interests,” Hankache added.
“Taxes’ hike has affected the Lebanese citizen twice in the past two years. Austerity occurs through stopping squandering and corruption,” he reiterated.
“We have submitted an alternative plan to all the files we have challenged,” he said, affirming that the Kataeb party is mulling over an appeal to the State Budget.
Hankache renewed his call for administrative decentralization plan put forward by Kataeb leader Samy Gemayel.
As for the waste management crisis, Hankache contended that the Kataeb lawmaker presented an integral strategy to the Environment Minister for the garbage crisis in 2012 which accentuated sorting at source, finding recycling centers in areas, and establishing landfills that meet requirements and are away from groundwater.
“We are against the expansion of landfills and the current Minister, Fady Jreissaty, agrees to it being an environmental crime, but despite that, no new decisions were taken in this regard,” Hankache pointed out.