The President of the Council of Ministers Saad Hariri said that we have to work day and night to develop the country, to have zero political problems and agree on all things, noting that the whole world is changing and we must keep up with this change. He stressed the need to take into consideration the interest of the treasury, implement reforms, adopt advanced laws, fight corruption and stop smuggling.
He said: What is important is that we do something scientific, not mediatic. What works is to increase state revenues, period.
Hariri held a press conference this afternoon after a tour of Beirut port. He said: I wanted to come here to see firsthand what is happening at the port. Actually, this port suffered a lot in the past because the pace of work in it was slow. A temporary committee was formed. Today, the port of Beirut is one of the most important ports in the region and there are about 1.3 million containers and it. There are campaigns against the port, some political in my opinion, and others trying to correct the situation. We have to develop ourselves. We should not keep the temporary committee but go towards privatization or public-private partnership.
Minister Fenianos is working on this matter with Hassan Koraytem, and we will soon form a committee to study it in the Council of Ministers. But the big achievement is that when the private sector takes charge of a facility, it shows the success of this sector. The port of Beirut was receiving in 2000 between fifty thousand and one hundred thousand containers, today we reached one million and three hundred and this is an achievement. Some talk about smuggling. Ending smuggling is not the task of the temporary committee, it is the duty of the security services, customs and military forces. Therefore, I would like to thank the Board of Directors who worked hard, and everyone who worked to achieve all of this. We will move towards a new stage, because the whole world is changing and we must accompany this change. I also congratulate the administration and the staff on the speed of transporting the containers. Lebanon deserves to receive the gold medal on such matters, and this shows that we can do immense work.
Hopefully, in the coming months, the government will present a draft law and finish the political issue. The important thing is to produce, not to talk in vain t and say why are you creating this basin or other things. The basic interest must be the interest of the state and not of people or a private sector working in the port which we do not want to annoy. The interest is to increase state revenues. This is what the temporary Committee has done. With the new way that we will present to the Council of Ministers, whether through privatization or partnership, we must stay in the same atmosphere, that the private sector is running these facilities because it proved successful in doing so. I praise every person on the board who worked with all his heart and endured the campaigns against him. Some talk about smuggling in the port while we have about 150 smuggling sites. I am not saying that there is no problem in smuggling, there is a problem, and this issue must be addressed by the military forces, this is why we will have a meeting next week with the military forces to address all these issues. The Minister of Finance will submit a draft customs law so that we can control our ports, airport and others.
I would like to thank Minister Fenianos for the work he is doing, as well as the board of directors, Hassan Koraytem and all the staff. We hope to be able to increase the state's revenues in the future, and hopefully there will be meetings to develop this port in the form that Lebanon and Beirut need.
Source: National News Agency