SAWT BEIRUT INTERNATIONAL

| 17 September 2021, Friday |

Nehme: “I am guilty as I decided subsidizing main commodities in May 2020”

The Caretaker Minister of Economy and Trade Raoul Nehme said “two days ago, a number of protesters entered the building of the ministry and staged a sit-in in front of my home. They also blamed my political project claiming that I wanted to halt subsidies and remove the support on food products.”

Nehme said in a statement on his social media platform: “Yes, I am guilty because I decided to support basic materials in May 2020. This wasn’t the perfect solution, but I was obliged to do come up with this temporary solution to preserve what has been left from the citizen’s purchasing power.” He added that at that time there wasn’t any alternative solution, but the government pledged providing a comprehensive reform policy for the subsidy program within three months.

Nehme said: “I am guilty for being the first minister who submitted a reform proposal last June 2020, in order to set an alternative program through providing needy citizens with direct support. This would lead to reforming all loopholes in the plan which was set, and will stop smuggling, and wasting money, but my proposal was faced with large objection.

He added that he is also guilty because he proposed a comprehensive plan to replace the subsidized commodities with a financial program that covers a wide range of citizens in cooperation with the World Bank on December 16, 2020. “I provided a detailed explanation about this program to the public, economists and politicians.”