Lebanon News

Endorsement of CEDRE-related draft laws delayed

In this Monday, April 2, 2018 photo, the sun sets behind apartment buildings and construction cranes in downtown Beirut, Lebanon. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)

BEIRUT: A joint parliamentary committee Thursday postponed the endorsement of two draft laws related to the CEDRE conference directed at facilitating foreign investment in Lebanon. The first law provides a legal framework for hiring practices at private investment companies, while the second law would create a register for non-transferable funds, according to Kesrouan MP Neemat Frem.

The joint committee consisted of the Finance and Budget Committee, the National Economy, Trade, Industry and Planning Committee and the Agriculture and Tourism Committee.

Lebanon received over $11 billion in pledges for soft loans and grants from the international community at the CEDRE conference in Paris in April to support the country’s economy and revitalize its infrastructure.

Beirut MP Paula Yacoubian, who attended the committee meeting as a nonmember, also said the laws discussed during Thursday’s session addressed CEDRE, though she criticized Parliament’s emphasis on CEDRE-related legislation.

“This Parliament works under an unformed [caretaker] Cabinet to legislate for CEDRE only,” Yacoubian told The Daily Star. She said the joint committee was expected to pass the law today. However, some MPs expressed doubts regarding unclear definitions in the draft law.

The joint committee agreed to form a subcommittee to further discuss the laws. The subcommittee consists of MPs Ibrahim Kanaan of Metn, Yassine Jaber of Nabatieh, Samir Jisr of Tripoli, George Okais of Zahle, Henry Helou of Aley, Amin Sharri of Beirut and Michel Daher of Zahle. The subcommittee will provide its report at next Thursday’s meeting, Deputy Parliament Speaker Elie Ferzli said after the joint committee meeting.

A subcommittee from the Public Works, Transportation, Energy and Water Committee also held a meeting Thursday to discuss an amendment to the building law to allow the building of ridge roofs on apartment buildings. The meeting was attended by caretaker Public Works and Transportation Minister Youssef Fenianos. “The ridge roof provides an extra living space for people and aesthetically looks better than the water tanks on building roofs,” committee chair and Beirut MP Nazih Najm told The Daily Star.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on October 19, 2018, on page 2.

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