Lebanon’s 2019 state budget approved by cabinet: Lebanese media

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Lebanon’s 2019 state budget was formally approved by the government on Monday and will now move to parliament for ratification, Lebanese television stations have reported.

The budget, which was mostly agreed on by the cabinet on Friday, included a deficit of 7.6% of gross domestic product (GDP), according to al-Jadeed.

The 2019 draft budget cuts the deficit to 7.6% of GDP from 11.5% in 2018. Lebanon has one of the heaviest public debt burdens in the world, at around 150% of GDP.

The budget includes a government plan to cut some $660 million from the debt servicing bill by issuing treasury bonds at 1% interest rate to the Lebanese banking sector, the finance minister has said.

The government was expected to seal its discussions on the budget on Monday in a session to be chaired by Aoun, after it finalized the plan at cabinet level last Friday.

The pound has been pegged against the dollar at its current level for more than two decades.

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