May 29 2012
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Draft budget earmarks $72 million for Special Tribunal
29 May 2012
BEIRUT: The Finance Ministry has allocated LL108 billion ($72 million) for the Special Tribunal for Lebanon in the 2012 draft budget, which is yet to be approved by Cabinet and Parliament.
According to Article 32 of the draft budget, the government is authorized to allocate and distribute the funds before making cash available in the budget.
Prime Minister Najib Mikati managed a few months ago to pay Lebanon’s share ($32 million) of the tribunal, despite the strong reservations of Hezbollah and its March 8 allies.
The draft budget indicates that the government is authorized to borrow $4.5 billion in Eurobonds to reschedule maturing debts.
The draft budget notes important allocations for major infrastructure projects in 2012, such as power stations, water irrigation, roads and recycling of waste in different regions.
The Finance Ministry has proposed raising the Value Added Tax from 10 percent to 12 percent and the taxes on interest rates on customer bank deposits from 5 percent to 7 percent.
Safadi also proposed a series of property taxes but assured that these would not scare away investors nor affect the real estate sector in general.
The minister offered tax incentives to all tourist and industrial projects that are executed outside the capital.
The draft budget suggested some amendments to the annual vehicle registration fees charged on different types of cars. It also called for banning the import of used cars which are more than six years old.
The Finance Ministry even proposed hiking taxes on luxury items such as alcoholic beverages and tobacco.
The draft budget also called for paying the arrears owed to the National Social Security Fund in installments and paying the first one of LL80 billion this year.© Copyright The Daily Star 2012.
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