The Lebanese Transparency Association - No Corruption (LTA), calls upon the Lebanese government to seriously address the demands of the Lebanese people, expressed in the demonstrations and protests currently taking place across Lebanon. The demonstrations come in response to the discussions and decisions taken at the Cabinet meeting on the 2020 draft budget, which failed to meet the expectations and restore citizens’ trust in State institutions.
The LTA is alarmed by the threat posed by the dire social and economic situation, and demands Lebanese officials take unprecedented measures by adopting urgent and immediate reforms. These should strengthen social safety and lay the groundwork for economic growth.
This can be achieved by including clear mechanisms and standards to promote transparency, participation and anti-corruption in the state budget, or by suggesting a progressive tax system alongside strict tariff measures to prevent smuggling through legal and illegal crossing points. Furthermore, authorities must adopt a reformed tax law to ensure control over tax evasion and other violations, and undertake a comprehensive mapping of State institutions and resources.
The LTA argues that the government must provide answers for three critical issues that explain the current situation:
- The lack of clear plans drafted by the government to reduce public debt in the long term.
- The lack of reforms for the electricity sector, and the deficit resulting from the ongoing payment of wages, salaries and compensations, due to overstaffing.
- The lack of economic programs based on a reformist vision to support promising primary sectors.
The Government must also address the long awaited National Anti-Corruption Strategy, an implementing decree on the right of access to information, and the issuance of the petroleum registry decree, in a way that reflects the spirit of the existing law and the Constitution.
Immediate action is required by the Parliament to abide by its oversight role and to hold open sessions to adopt laws that will contribute to enhancing integrity and fighting corruption.
The legislative agenda must also include progress on the Law for Combatting Corruption in the Public Sector and the creation of a National Anti-Corruption Agency. It must also address illicit enrichment and financial disclosure, as well as amending the Law on the Regularization of the Court of Accounts, the Law on the Regularization of the Central Inspection Authority, the Public Procurement Amendment Bill, the Conflict of Interests Draft Law, the Asset Recovery Draft Law and a draft law on Strengthening the Independence of the Judiciary.
The LTA calls upon the legislative, executive and judiciary authorities to carry out their duties and act immediately to restore the trust of the Lebanese people, in order to demonstrate their commitment to reforms pledged by the Lebanese State to the nation and the international community.
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