Parliament on Monday approved a host of draft laws during a legislative session at its temporary venue at the UNESCO Palace in Beirut.
Among the passed bills, lawmakers adopted a draft law for extending the lifting of banking secrecy related to the forensic audit into the central bank’s accounts.
Parliament also approved a draft law on commercial competition that puts an end to exclusive agencies.
Legislators also passed a draft law for extrabudgetary spending pending the approval of the state budget as it returned to the Administration and Justice Committee a draft law for the judiciary’s independence so that the Higher Judicial Council can look into it.
Speaker Nabih Berri meanwhile hit at Justice Minister Henri Khoury, saying: “I wish you were this defiant in the face of the Higher Judicial Council.”
Speaking at the beginning of the session, Speaker Nabih Berri noted that “Lebanon is the only country in the world that allows for exclusive agencies.”
“Article 36 of the partnership treaty with the EU stipulates that the abolishment of exclusive agencies is obligatory,” Berri added, noting that the proposal is “not targeted against certain people without others.”
“The number of registered exclusive agencies is 3,030, only 313 of which are valid and the rest are illegal. They do not renew their contracts and they do not pay fees. These agencies are still working, importing goods from abroad and preventing others from importing. The entire world has abolished exclusive agencies, except for two countries, Lebanon and the UAE, which abolished exclusive agencies 10 days ago,” the Speaker went on to say.
Berri later adjourned the session after quorum was lost as al-Jadeed TV reported that parliament will not convene on Tuesday.