President of the Republic, General Michel Aoun, met the Minister of Tourism and Social Affairs, Professor Ramze Msharrafiye, today at Baabda Palace and discussed with him the general situation in the country.
Msharrafiye stated that he discussed with the President, how to work to grant the owners of tourism and educational institutions of various types of companies, which were forced to close during the crisis, exceptional loans to repay the original value of the payments, benefits and bonds that were due during the period from the 17th of October, 2019 until the end of Corona crisis without calculating any interest or commission on these amounts, and allowing the tourist institutions to pay bank loans in foreign currencies, in Lebanese pounds, according to the official exchange rate.
Msharrafiye indicated that among the proposals is to extend the contractual deadlines, especially the time limits for occupied real estate rents from the tourist, educational institutions and commercial companies of various types wishing to extend for a period equal to the period of their forced closure.
Also among the proposed measures is the reduction of all real estate rental allowances in new rental contracts concluded in accordance with Law 159/92 by 25% twenty-five percent during the public mobilization period, provided that this reduction is 50% fifty percent in all the rental occupied by tourist institutions educational and commercial companies of all kinds throughout the period parallel to the period of their forced closure resulting from the period following the date of October 17, 2019 and the state of public mobilization decided by the Lebanese Government following the Corona crisis, and the installment of reduced and unpaid rental fees during the year that follows DONC general mobilization period and the end of the Corona crisis.
Minister Msharrafiye stated that among the proposals is “asking all the competent official ministries and departments to exempt all citizens and workers in free professions, tourist and educational institutions and commercial companies of all kinds from all delays in fines calculated on all types of taxes and fees, whatever they may be” (National Social Security Fund contributions, tax on added value, income tax, etc.…) the consequences of these citizens or institutions for the period prior to the date of the end of Corona crisis, October 17, 2019, and to collect only the value of the net fees from them within one year, starting from the date of the end of the Corona crisis as determined by the Lebanese Government, and to cancel all annual traffic fees (mechanics) for year 2020 for taxi drivers, joint public transport, and car rental companies, a reduction of 50% of the unpaid annual traffic fees for year 2020 for all land-engine vehicles, and exemption from mechanical inspection throughout this year”.
Msharrafiye pointed out that he also proposed to approve granting banks subsidized loans to tourism institutions operating in Lebanon in Lebanese Pounds with low interest equal to half of the interest granted to individuals, and to work immediately to issue the necessary decisions to reduce electricity and water fees and contributions during year 2020 by 50% for all citizens, including tourism institutions educational and commercial companies of all kinds, and their installment within a period of 12 months that begins after the end of the Corona crisis, as determined by the Lebanese Government. Likewise, requesting all concerned ministries to work immediately to issue the necessary decisions to reduce the fixed costs incurred by tourism institutions by 50% and to postpone the payment and installment of these costs for a period of 12 months beginning after a grace period of three months from the end of the Corona crisis, as determined by the Lebanese Government, especially: National Social Security Fund contributions, foreign workers’ residence fees, sales tax, income tax, intoxicating tax and other fees.
Among the proposals are also to exempt car rental companies from the fee of one hundred thousand Lebanese Pounds that these companies pay for each car (car rental license fee), and to reduce 90% of all traffic records except for violating these measures taken by the Government during public mobilization period, provided that payment is made during a maximum period of three months from end of packing. Likewise, the period of using cars in car rental companies to be extended to five years instead of three, and obliging the banks to grant workers registered with the National Social Security Fund spent from work for economic conditions after the date of October 17, 2019, soft loans in Lebanese Pounds equivalent to their monthly wage at an annual interest rate of 2%, taking end-of-service compensation as security.
Msharrafiye considered that “The foregoing is part of the proposals and measures that we see as imperative to endorse in order to contribute to reducing the burden on the citizen’s and economic and tourism institutions at the current stage, in light of the imminent danger that necessitated and we must protect the lives of the Lebanese as an absolute priority following the outbreak of the global Corona pandemic and catastrophic results. That is caused at all levels, provided that we complete the above with additional proposals that protect the working class and the most needy groups within a comprehensive Government economic and development plan”.
Source: National News Agency