Lebanese members of parliament attend a general parliament discussion in downtown Beirut, Lebanon October 17, 2017. Picture taken October 17, 2017. REUTERS/Mohamed Azakir
Lebanese members of parliament attend a general discussion on October 17, 2017. Mohamed Azakir / Reuters

Lebanon passes first state budget in 12 years

Lebanon’s parliament has approved the country’s first budget in more than a decade, restoring control over state finances and easing a long-standing political deadlock that has stifled development.

After three days of deliberations, 61 members of parliament voted to pass the budget while four voted against and eight abstained, the state-run National News Agency reported late Thursday.

Parliament had not passed a budget since 2005, a vacuum that led to unauthorised government spending and accusations of corruption. The passage of new legislation is the latest sign that governance is returning after the election of president Michel Aoun and appointment of prime minister Saad Hariri late last year, which eased political divisions and led to the approval of long-delayed laws, including new election rules and oil and gas decrees.

The budget includes 23.7 trillion Lebanese pounds (Dh57.6 billion) of spending this year, compared to 22.6 trillion pounds in 2016, according to the finance ministry. Revenue is expected at 16.38 trillion pounds, up from 14.96 trillion pounds, and the deficit is forecast to narrow to 7.28 trillion pounds from 7.45 trillion pounds. The budget also contains anti-corruption measures.

Lawmakers reaching an agreement on spending is a positive sign for investors, said Sami Nader, head of the Beirut-based Levant Institute for Strategic Affairs. “The more the country is heading toward good governance, the lower its risk,” he said.

The budget may also help unlock international funds aimed at helping Lebanon cope with the influx of 1.5 million refugees from neighbouring Syria, whose civil war has weighed on Lebanon’s economy and forced the closing of trade routes. Growth is forecast to remain unchanged at 2 per cent in 2017, according to the World Bank, with the ratio of debt to gross domestic product reaching 155 per cent by the end of the year.

6.30pm: Al Maktoum Challenge Round-3 Group 1 (PA) | US$95,000 | (Dirt) 2,000m
7.05pm: Meydan Classic Listed (TB) ) | $175,000) | (Turf) 1,600m
7.40pm: Handicap (TB) ) | $135,000 ) | (D) 1,600m
8.15pm: Nad Al Sheba Trophy Group 3 (TB) ) | $300,000) | (T) 2,810m
8.50pm: Curlin Handicap Listed (TB)) | $160,000) | (D) 2,000m
9.25pm: Handicap (TB)) | $175,000) | (T) 1,400m
10pm: Handicap (TB) ) | $135,000 ) | (T) 2,000m


Bhuvan Bam
Instagram followers: 16.1 million
Bhuvan Bam is a 29-year-old comedian and actor from Delhi, who started out with YouTube channel, “BB Ki Vines” in 2015, which propelled the social media star into the limelight and made him sought-after among brands.
Kusha Kapila
Instagram followers: 3.1 million
Kusha Kapila is a fashion editor and actress, who has collaborated with brands including Google. She focuses on sharing light-hearted content and insights into her life as a rising celebrity.
Diipa Khosla
Instagram followers: 1.8 million
Diipa Khosla started out as a social media manager before branching out to become one of India's biggest fashion influencers, with collaborations including MAC Cosmetics.
Komal Pandey
Instagram followers: 1.8 million
Komal Pandey is a fashion influencer who has partnered with more than 100 brands, including Olay and smartphone brand Vivo India.
Nikhil Sharma
Instagram followers: 1.4 million
Nikhil Sharma from Mumbai began his online career through vlogs about his motorcycle trips. He has become a lifestyle influencer and has created his own clothing line.
Source: Hireinfluence, various


Directors: Scott Beck, Bryan Woods

Stars: Adam Driver, Ariana Greenblatt, Chloe Coleman

Rating: 2/5


Director: Sudha Kongara Prasad

Starring: Akshay Kumar, Radhika Madan, Paresh Rawal

Rating: 2/5

The Specs

Engine: 1.6-litre 4-cylinder petrol
Power: 118hp
Torque: 149Nm
Transmission: Six-speed automatic
Price: From Dh61,500
On sale: Now


Company name: Almouneer
Started: 2017
Founders: Dr Noha Khater and Rania Kadry
Based: Egypt
Number of staff: 120
Investment: Bootstrapped, with support from Insead and Egyptian government, seed round of
$3.6 million led by Global Ventures

Tiger Stripes

Director: Amanda Nell Eu 

Stars: Zafreen Zairizal, Deena Ezral and Piqa

Rating: 4.5

Most Read
Top Videos