BEIRUT (Rahnuma): Caretaker Finance Minister Ali Hassan Khalil warned Thursday that ministries will run out of finances if Lebanon fails to form a government within one month, the National News Agency reported.
Khalil’s remarks came following his meeting with Prime Minister Designate Saad Hariri to discuss the latest political developments.
Nassib Ghobril, economist and head of the economic research department at Byblos Bank, attributed Khalil’s remarks to the absence of a 2019 state budget.
Lebanon’s parliament approved last year the 2018 government budget, only the second since 2005.
“The 2019 state budget should have been submitted to the government by the finance minister at the end of 2018 for it to be sent to the parliament for voting and approval,” Ghobril told Xinhua while adding that Lebanon has missed again the constitutional deadline when it comes to state budget due to the absence of a government.
However, Ghobril commented on Khalil’s remarks by saying that ministries will not run out of finances because the finance ministry will issue treasury bonds at market rates and the banks will subscribe to them.
“Banks have already subscribed to the treasury bonds that were issued in November last year by the ministry of finance,” said Ghobril.
Ghobril noted that the government is posting a deficit as usual and it needs to borrow in all cases but he argued that the economic situation and public finances are being used as a pressure card in the formation of the government.