CORRECTION - Lebanese Government Will Not Introduce New Taxes To Replenish Budget - Finance Minister

DOHA (Pakistan Point News / Sputnik - 20th October, 2019) The Lebanese government will replenish the budget without introducing any new taxes, the country's Finance Minister Ali Hassan Khalil confirmed after an emergency meeting with Prime Minister Saad Hariri on measures to overcome the economic crisis in the country.

"At a meeting with Prime Minister Hariri, [it was] confirmed that the budget will be replenished without any new taxes or fees, as well as the cancellation of all proposed projects in this regard from either side, and the adoption of serious reform plans with the participation of the banking and other sectors, so that no obligations are imposed on people, even small taxes," Khalil wrote on Twitter.

On Saturday, Hariri met with a number of ministers, including ministers of finance and industry, to discuss measures to avert the country's economic crisis, which provoked massive anti-government demonstrations. On Friday night, the prime minister gave the government 72 hours to develop such measures.

Lebanese President Michel Aoun met with protesters on Friday, saying he "understands their feelings" and later wrote on Twitter that "there will be an encouraging solution" to the Lebanese crisis.

The Lebanese cabinet is expected to convene on Sunday to discuss ways out of this critical situation.

Since Thursday, Beirut and other cities in Lebanon have been gripped by protests with the demonstrators demanding that the government resign and action be taken to cope with the worsening economic situation amid a financial blockade and sanctions. The protesters blocked off major highways. In central Beirut, the rallies turned violent as the demonstrators threw Molotov cocktails at police, while the security forces resorted to stun grenades, rubber bullets and tear gas.

The rallies erupted as the government sought to raise additional funds by introducing a $6 monthly tax on online calls made via WhatsApp and other mobile applications. The tax was abandoned as the protests gained momentum. However, the rallies continued with dozens of people injured in the clashes between the security forces and the protesters.