BEIRUT — The Amal Movement on Monday criticized an article in the 2022 budget under which the state power provider Electricité du Liban would receive an advance payment to buy fuel, describing such a move as contributing to the “continued failure” to resolve the electricity crisis in the country.
Here’s what we know:
• Article 13, which proposes the EDL advance, has provoked debate during the cabinet’s ongoing discussions of the draft budget, which started last Monday.
• At the end of its weekly meeting, Amal, which is led by the Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri, denounced the proposed advance and “the continued failure to resolve the roots of the electricity crisis.” The party also criticized the fact that “no serious reform has been undertaken in this sector.”
• In its statement, the party also condemned “the policy of advance payments,” calling it “the basis of the economic and financial collapse, because it made the state carry burdens which turned out to be useless.”
• Lebanon’s state power provider has for much of the past year failed to provide more than a handful of hours of electricity per day to homes and businesses across the country, leaving residents reliant on privately owned generator subscriptions for their electricity supply.
• Education Minister and acting Information Minister Abbas Halabi indicated after Saturday’s cabinet meeting that Energy Minister Walid Fayad had been called upon to justify an advance payment to EDL worth LL5.25 trillion that is included in the budget draft. The subject was also discussed at Monday’s cabinet meeting.
• In its session Monday, the cabinet requested more details from the energy minister who promised to submit them in the next session. The cabinet decided to meet in a new session on Wednesday.