The Lebanese National Bloc Party released the following statement:
As usual, the power-sharing regime is taking arbitrary decisions without considering their implications. The total lockdown, which is necessary due to the current health situation, has significant economic repercussions. In order to avoid a complete economic collapse, the rise in unemployment, and the resulting poverty, it should have introduced some parallel measures.
The government could have taken some practical steps, but the parties-sects' firm grip, which became an internal occupation of Lebanon, on decision-making and their indifference to citizens’ suffering, are preventing it from considering these rescue measures:
- Provide a full exemption from penalties of value-added tax declarations, and the payment of VAT dues for the fourth quarter of 2019, 2020, and 2021, in equal monthly installments over five years, by adding them to quarterly installments when they become due.
- Cancel the Ministry of Finance's decision No. 893/1, issued on 21 December 2020, requiring importers to record the value of their invoices according to the black market dollar rate.
- Put other taxes, such as the income tax and the built property tax, on hold and pay them in installments spread over 48 months, by granting an exemption from penalties.
- Allow citizens and all economic sectors to pay the municipality fees for 2020 and 2021 in installments, ant to exempt them from penalties.
- Exempt families, tourism organizations, business companies, associations, hospitals, and schools that were affected by the port explosion on August 4, from all fees and taxes for 2020 and 2021. Exempt materials related to reconstruction and renovation operations from fees and taxes.
- Subsidize and lower taxes of public utilities, such as electricity, water, telephone, and built property taxes by 50% for poor families, for a period of one year.
- Develop a mechanism to reduce commercial and non-commercial rents through a mutual understanding between landlords and tenants for 2020 and 2021.
- Establish an Unemployment Fund to help jobless people.
- Exempt from the National Social Security Fund penalties for 2020 and 2021, and provide some relief by allowing the payment of NSSF dues in installments spread over 48 months, by adding them to installments when they become due.
- Boost employment in institutions, companies, and associations through the payment by the state of its dues to the NSSF for 2020 and 2021.
- Develop a mechanism to settle labor disputes, arising from bankruptcy or wage cuts due to lockdown, by mutual consent. Establish a system of flexible working shifts until the end of the crisis, including a protection for workers’ rights regarding their end-of-service indemnity and leaves.
- Establish a mechanism, following a capital increase by the banks, to revive the banking sector operations by granting financial facilities, loans, and advances to Lebanese enterprises.
- Decrease interest expenses immediately for companies and individuals to 3%.
- Reschedule outstanding loans of companies and individuals, and fix their repayment in Lebanese pounds according to the offered exchange rate when loans were first granted.
Let the government fulfill its obligations towards the exhausted citizens, and adopt these measures and procedures to avoid total collapse.