Weekly Wrap Up.
- Energy minister justifies lack of electricity: Citizens are consuming more than they should.
Engineer Dr. Walid Fayyad discovered a method to rationalize the darkness that his ministry administers nearly four months after the government was formed: residents are consuming too much electricity.
The minister’s remarks came yesterday during the signing of an agreement to import electricity from Jordan, which is expected to provide Lebanon with two additional hours of electricity over the next two months and could increase to ten hours per day once the agreement to import Egyptian gas is completed.
In this way, the energy minister condemns homeowners for excessive energy usage while also revealing his government’s loftiest goals: ten hours of electricity each day.
- The Lebanese government launches an application to facilitate passport renewal.
The General Directorate of General Security established a website on Thursday to schedule appointments for the submission of Lebanese passport applications. The platform, which is available to all citizens both within and outside the nation, was created in response to a considerable increase in the number of applications received since the start of the economic crisis.
Earlier this year, the directorate disclosed that the number of applications increased from 300 to 7,000 per day, resulting in enormous lines developing in front of General Security facilities at night.
- Lebanon has been absent from meetings held in Paris to investigate BDL governor Riad Salameh.
Lebanon has been absent from meetings in Paris since last Monday, which have been devoted to exchanging information and conducting an inquiry into the case of BDL governor Riad Salameh.
The discussions were meant to be attended by a Lebanese delegation consisting of Judge Jean Tannous, who is overseeing the Salameh case locally, and Judge Raja Hamoush, who represents Public Prosecutor Ghassan Oueidate.
The cause behind Lebanon’s absence is unknown. However, the fault is pointed upon Oueidat, who insisted on having a representation present. Last October, Judge Tannous represented Lebanon alone at the Hague meeting, which resulted in the establishment of a cross-border team to facilitate Salameh’s prosecution.
- Former PM Saad Al-Hariri suspends his political career.
Finance Minister Youssef Khalil revealed today that the customs dollar will be determined in the draft budget using the Sayrafa platform rate. This means that customs duties on all imported items will be raised by a factor of fifteen, a record increase, and an unparalleled surge in inflation rates.
Khalil made the announcement during the first Cabinet meeting in three months and twelve days, during which the transportation allowance was doubled to LBP 65,000 per day for private sector employees and to LBP 1.2 million as a monthly lump amount for security and military personnel. Temporary social support for public sector employees and pensioners has also been allowed.
The proposed budget will be considered at ongoing Cabinet sessions over the following few days before being transferred to the legislature.
- Lebanon to face a rise in inflation with custom dollar to be calculated based on Sayrafa platform.
Former Prime Minister Saad Hariri of Lebanon has stepped down from politics, completing a tortuous 17-year career and thrusting the crisis-torn country into even more uncertainty.
Hariri, the country’s most famous Sunni leader and a three-time prime minister, announced his resignation from politics in a televised statement on Monday afternoon. He urged all members of his Future Movement party, which forms the country’s largest Sunni parliamentary bloc, to follow suit.
Hariri stated that neither he nor any of his party’s members will run in the May 2022 parliamentary elections.