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Abdel Samad Addresses to Ministry of Finance Comments on 2021 Draft Budget

Caretaker Minister of Information, Manal Abdel Samad, sent to the Ministry of Finance a set of general comments on the draft budget law for the year 2021, after it proved impossible for her to present her observations at the cabinet session that was expected to be devoted to discussing the draft law.

Abdel-Samad’s paper included six observations, the most prominent of which being the proposal to exempt licensed media and drama production companies from income tax on profits made in the years 2021, 2022 and 2023, taking into account the current economic situation that negatively affected the said sector, provided that 80% of the workers in these companies are Lebanese.

She also suggested reintroducing the draft law submitted by the Ministry of Information, which aims to exempt audio-visual media institutions from part of their annual rental fees, given the financial hardship that these media outlets are going through.

Abdel Samad then suggested to later jettison Clause 2 of Article 27 of Law No. 382/1994, which determines annual rental fees for television and radio institutions, given that most of these media outlets do not benefit from the services associated with these fees.

In her remarks, the Minister objected to the proposed solidarity tax.

As for the reform articles included in the draft budget law in the form of a “cavalier budgétaire”, she suggested removing those from the budget and including them in separate laws (drafts or proposals).

Abdel Samad also pushed for reconsidering the articles related to the end of service and the retirement pension, in terms of setting the correct controls to prevent waste while maintaining a decent end of service allowance for public workers.

She called on the state to encourage startups that engage in creative & innovative technologies and the knowledge economy, by exempting them from income tax for a certain period of time.

The Minister of Information also included a set of other observations and suggestions, coupled with thorough explanation of the reasons behind those observations.

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