Parliament voted Tuesday in favor of new amendments to the World Bank-funded Emergency Social Safety Net program. The Parliament session is ongoing at UNESCO Palace.
Here’s what we know:
• Parliament convened Tuesday to discuss a set of pending draft laws, including the amendments needed to implement the ESSN.
• The World Bank approved the $246 million program in January and Parliament first voted on it in March, but the program was subsequently delayed, in part because of changes to the deal that were made by Parliament without the World Bank’s approval. Last week, the government — after several delays — launched a registration platform for the program. Within the first day of its launch over 30,000 people signed up electronically. Some 160,000 households are expected to receive assistance under the World Bank-funded program.
• At the session, Parliament also voted on a law to establish the National Agency for Medicine, which was put forward in October by the Finance and Budget Committee in an effort to “combat fraud and monopoly,” in the medicines sector.
• Parliament last convened on Oct. 28. During that session, MPs voted on amendments regarding the electoral law for the upcoming legislative elections, deciding that the polls would be held on March 27, instead of May 8 and that Lebanese expatriate votes would be counted across 128 existing parliamentary seats instead of in a specialized six-seat constituency. The Free Patriotic Movement has since appealed the decision before the Constitutional Council, seeking to invalidate these amendments.
• Ahead of Tuesday's session, families of the victims of the Aug. 4, 2020 Beirut port explosion along with the families of Lebanese students studying abroad gathered to protest near the UNESCO Palace, where the session is taking place.
Source: L'Orient Today