Free Patriotic Movement chief Jebran Bassil on Monday noted that the country can overcome its financial deficit without “touching bank deposits or selling the state’s assets.”
“We are confident that Lebanon can overcome the huge financial deficit without touching bank deposits or selling the state’s assets,” Bassil said after a meeting for the Strong Lebanon parliamentary bloc.
“We won’t accept any salvation solution that doesn’t begin with the recovery of granted, stolen and overseas transferred funds,” Bassil stressed.
Pointing out that the economic and financial policies of the past 30 years “have led us into a collapse,” the FPM chief said there is “a preemptive attack to prevent change and protect the corrupts.”
“These are the signs of the coming battle that they are threatening the Lebanese with instead of closing ranks for salvation,” Bassil added, referring to political rivals.
Calling on the government to “lay out its rescue plan as soon as possible,” Bassil said Lebanon should not move from “financial engineering” operations to “real estate engineering” tactics.
“If the state has erred, it has erred through individuals who bear the responsibility, and the solution lies in holding them accountable and not in selling the state’s properties,” he added.
“We have determined that $3.7 billion were withdrawn from the banking system in January and February 2020 of the category of deposits that exceed $1 million and a large part of them was sent abroad,” Bassil went on to say, revealing that his bloc will also file a lawsuit over “the funds that were smuggled around the October 17 period.”
He added: “We have called for approving a capital control law, starting by the issue of smuggled funds, and today we reiterate our call. If it does not get passed in Cabinet and parliament in a consensual way, we will submit it as a draft law.”
And hoping that seven urgent bills submitted by the bloc will be approved in Tuesday’s legislative session, Bassil warned that “the priority today is not for a general amnesty law.”
“The issue of prison overcrowding should be resolved through special pardons or a very limited general amnesty,” he suggested.