Following are the Cabinet meeting decisions read by Minister of Information, Manal Abdel Samad:
Prime Minister Hassan Diab first pointed out that strict measures to counter coronavirus epidemic, which began on Sunday, have clearly increased people’s level of commitment in most regions of the country, adding that it is important to continue implementing these measures in order to ensure that the situation does not get out of hand, although in many areas the commitment has been relatively weak. Therefore, it is essential that military and security forces impose more stringent measures in areas where commitment remains incomplete.
He then underlined: “there have been several and repeated calls for the declaration of a state of emergency, my answer is my call to read the law and relevant statement of reasons.”
Regarding the other aspect of the measures, it is our duty to find a way to help people whose work has been disrupted as a result of confinement, and to look into their difficult social and living conditions.
Of course, it is the duty of the State to help people. That is what we have to do. But at the same time, social cohesion among Lebanese people is particularly essential. Throughout history, the Lebanese have shown cooperation and solidarity in situations of danger.
Today we are facing a new type of crisis. However, I am confident that we will overcome it with the least possible losses, and we will work our way out of the crisis through cooperation and solidarity.
PM also called the Ministers to take decisions within each ministry to suspend payment at maturity, and to postpone the payment of duties and taxes related to electricity, water, telephones, social security fund, mechanic and judicial taxes.
The main decisions that were taken:
- An urgent draft law for non-imposing the value-added tax (VAT) for a period of six months, on donations made to public administrations, public institutions, and municipalities, funded from sources in Lebanon as a result of the spread of the coronavirus.
- An urgent draft law for suspending some provisions of Article 32 of the Budget Law 2020, allowing all public institutions, municipalities, unions of municipalities, councils, funds, independent professions, and persons under the public law to spend, contribute, or finance, either in cash or in kind, donations to any public or private body, provided that this money is exclusively given to secure health or food aids of all kinds in the face of the emerging coronavirus, and it will not be spent or allocated to any other party.
- The Cabinet also decided to reduce tariffs on the international, local and additional hours required from internet, as well as DSP and ISP carriers companies, exceptionally and for a limited period, to their subscribers under the general mobilization conditions for coronavirus (after consulting with the State Council).
- The Cabinet decided to extend until June 3rd, 2020, the provisions of Decree No. 6036 of December 23, 2019, related to the extension of the effect of the clearance issued by the National Social Security Fund.
- The Minister of Foreign Affairs discussed Lebanese students’ affairs abroad, and means of providing them in-kind and material assistance, and he will submit a social assistance plan for them.
- The Minister of Social Affairs presented the Ministry’s work plan, which he is also discussing during the meeting of the Technical Committee in charge of following up on urgent issues related to social affairs, in order to submit urgent recommendations and practical and quick steps that meet urgent needs.
- As for the Capital Control project, the Ministers’ remarks were taken into account, and discussions will continue to complete this project.
Source: National News Agency