CABINET DECIDES TO DISTRIBUTE SOCIAL ASSISTANCE TO CITIZENS WHOSE WORK WAS DISRUPTED

The Cabine convened, today at the Presidential Palace, in session chaired by President Michel Aoun and attended by Prime Minister, Hassan Diab, and Ministers. The Council of Ministers stressed the importance of continuing strictness in adopting health ...

The Cabine convened, today at the Presidential Palace, in session chaired by President Michel Aoun and attended by Prime Minister, Hassan Diab, and Ministers. The Council of Ministers stressed the importance of continuing strictness in adopting health measures to confront Corona, and Ministers put 100 Million Lebanese Pounds into the special Central Bank account to fight the epidemic.

The Cabinet also decided to complete the research on in the draft law aimed at organizing and setting temporary exceptional controls on some operations and banking services in a session to be held next Tuesday, provided that the draft is presented to Ministers in next Thursday’s session.

The Council of Ministers asked the Energy Ministry to initiate discussions with the major manufacturers working for the electricity production units to study the possibility of securing the necessary financing, setting up production plants for electricity and securing temporary solutions through direct negotiations and agreements concluded between state and state, and sponsored by the text of Article 52 of the Constitution.

The session was preceded by a meeting between the President and Prime Minister, in which the topics on the agenda were discussed.

Statement of the Information Minister:

“The Council of Ministers convened its weekly session, chaired by His Excellency, the President of the Republic, and attended by the Prime Minister and Ministers.

At the beginning of the session, Prime Minister Diab stressed the Cabinet’s adherence to the continuation of the substantive debate adopted, and pointed out that the Government takes responsibility in the most difficult stage in Lebanese history, and faces exceptional crises, which requires the highest levels of mobilization and effort to secure resilience elements.

Then, Prime Minister Diab clarified that speed, and not haste, is required in the draft law regulating the establishment of exceptional controls on some of the proposed banking operations and services, indicating that it is impossible to develop a project that satisfies everyone, and there will be losses, but we must do our best to mitigate losses and addressed drilling operations in Block 4 for gas exploration, noting the rapid progress, and hoped for positive results.

Afterwards, the Prime Minister spoke about the file of establishment of electricity plants, and considered that it is the cornerstone for addressing the Lebanese electricity crisis, and to launch the basic workshop to secure electricity 24 hours a day, and to stop the bleeding in the state treasury from this sector.

Then, PM Diab addressed the followed procedures to counter Corona, and pointed to the opening of an account in the Central Bank, dedicated to contributions in this issue, in addition to assistance that can be obtained.

Finally, the Prime Minister spoke about the necessity of opening a donation account related to social assistance to citizens whose work was disrupted, and in this context he announced the preparation for distribution of food aid in various regions through the High Relief Commission, or municipalities, or local donors.

PM Diab concluded that it is a difficult stage which requires national and humanitarian stances, so that we can overcome this difficult ordeal”.

Then, the Health Minister presented the development of the fight against Corona in Lebanon and the measures taken by his ministry in cooperation with public and private hospitals.

Cabinet Decisions:

-Completing the research on the draft law aimed at organizing and setting exceptional temporary controls for some operations and banking services at the Cabinet’s meeting next Tuesday, provided that it is presented to the Council next Thursday’s session.

-Energy Minister reviewed the progress of the first exploration well, in Block 4, and it was found that drilling operations reached 1991 meters after exceeding 1516 meters, provided that drilling will take place in a layer of salt whose thickness is 1750 meters to reach where it is supposed to be in the layer in which it is believed that gas is present.

-The Energy Minister presented the issue of fluctuating fuel prices, and it was decided to form a committee comprising the Prime Minister and the Ministers of Energy and Finance in coordination with the Central Bank, the Electricity Authority of Lebanon and the General Directorate of Oil and authorizing them to purchase future contracts through the Central Bank in US dollars.

-Requesting the Energy Ministry to initiate discussions with senior manufacturers working for the electricity production units to study the possibility of securing the necessary financing, establishing production plants for electricity, and securing temporary solutions through direct negotiations and agreements concluded between state and state.

-Opening an account in the Central Bank to receive donations and cash assistance, and its use will be devoted to Corona issue.

-Opening an account at the Rafic Hariri Governmental Hospital to receive donations and gifts for the hospital, and mandating the High Relief Commission to accept donations in kind.

-Requesting the Central Bank to open an account to receive donations, and use it for social assistance.

-Ministers provided 100 million Lebanese Pounds of their own compensation in favor of fighting Corona.

-It was decided to distribute social assistance to citizens whose businesses were disrupted and lost their livelihood, and food aid will be distributed in various regions, whether through the High Relief Commission or across municipalities or with the help of local donors.

-The Education Minister stated that, within the framework of rationalizing tunnels, rented school buildings were evacuated to avoid need for them, providing more than $ 150,000, and other buildings will be evacuated, which will soon achieve greater financial savings”.

Questions & Answers:

Question: Which two regions did the Minister of Health request to isolate for recording high rates of corona infection?

Answer: “From the beginning, injuries were confined to some areas, including Jbeil, the southern suburbs of Beirut, and others, but today it is not possible to speak on this matter after we are in the scope of the outbreak, and there is great fear due to the 14 cases recorded yesterday, but the greatest fear is the type of cases that are unknown. Therefore, we are keen to be strict and non-complacent about the issue of home commitment and the necessary preventive measures”.

Question: After we are close to the end of the two-week period, is there an intention to extend the health measures taken?

Answer: “This matter is decided in the light of the developments and prevention that we adopt, as the measures were good and the response of the citizens also helped us in controlling the numbers, but in the light of the developments, measures will be taken, and citizens should help in the matter of caution and prevention”.

Question: In what concerns Electricity production. Are the factories part of the electricity plan? Why not be presented to the tender department after the Government raised the slogan of transparency?

Answer: “We have not yet reached this stage of contradictions and others, and it was decided to discuss with companies that have the intention and are preparing for cooperation, and we are still in the survey stage”.

Question: How will the decision to grant aid be implemented to those who need it?

Answer: “We have passed in much more difficult circumstances, and we, as Lebanese, are used to facing crises, and what we are living in today is a global crisis that has affected everyone, and we must all have sufficient awareness to face it. We hope that this stage will pass”.

Question: What are the notes on Capital Control, and why did PM Diab talk about losses?

Answer: “We are still within discussions, and it cannot be said that every idea raised is final. He asked the ministers to prepare written proposals and send them to the Finance Minister, to be discussed on Tuesday, and in the hope that we will come up with a final draft law next Thursday”.

Source: National News Agency