Tuesday, October 22, 2019
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Kouyoumjian: Our state is robbed and we seek to end the series of thefts, waste and corruption

Minister of Social Affairs, Richard Kouyoumjian, said in an interview with "MTV Station" earlier today that the Lebanese state is robbed, pointing to the efforts exerted by cabinet ministers "to stop the cycle of looting and robbery, corruption and theft."

He added that it is not enough to be non-corrupt, but one should confront various forms of waste expenditure, corruption and theft, referring to essential reform steps that can be sufficiently adopted within the annual budget without having to touch citizens' salaries and burden them with additional taxes.

Kouyoumjian emphasized herein the need for the state to close all illegal border crossings with Syria to prevent smuggling. Additionally, he reiterated the importance of boosting customs' control at Beirut Port and border crossings to ensure a rise in revenues and to address the issue of tax evasion to improve tax collection.

"I was hoping today to talk about the development of social conditions in Lebanon and the establishment of the social safety net, but unfortunately we are busy with ways to keep social welfare institutions in place," he went on, noting that his Ministry only provides 20% to 30% of the expenses of welfare associations.

"The government should be aware of this and contribute more to supporting these associations and institutions," Kouyoumhian asserted.

He deemed that the provision of funds is essential for the survival of welfare institutions, the likes of Sesobel and others, especially in light of their vital services that are much needed at a time when there are no official state institutions catering to people with special needs, orphans, disabled, addicts and battered women.

Kouyoumjian concluded by confirming that his Ministry shall pursue its comprehensive survey of various social welfare bodies to ensure their legitimacy, calling on anyone in possession of information about any imaginary associations to come forward and alert the Ministry whose employees are working efficiently to carry out their duties in this respect.

Source: National News Agency