Parliament approves audit, competition laws and sends judicial bill back to committee — Naharnet

Parliament on Monday approved a slew of bills during a legislative session at its temporary headquarters at the UNESCO Palace in Beirut.

Among the bills passed, lawmakers passed a bill to extend the lifting of bank secrecy related to forensic audit to central bank accounts.

Parliament has also approved a Commercial Competition Bill that ends exclusive agencies.

Lawmakers also passed an extra-budgetary spending bill pending approval of the state budget, which referred a bill on the independence of the judiciary to the Administration and Justice Committee to that the Superior Council of the Judiciary can examine it.

President Nabih Berri meanwhile hit out at Justice Minister Henri Khoury, saying, “I wish you were so provocative in the face of the Superior Council of the Judiciary.”

Speaking at the start of the session, President Nabih Berri noted that “Lebanon is the only country in the world that allows exclusive agencies.”

“Article 36 of the EU Partnership Treaty stipulates that the abolition of exclusive agencies is mandatory,” Berri added, noting that the proposal “does not target some people without others.”

“The number of registered exclusive agencies is 3,030, of which only 313 are valid and the rest are illegal. They do not renew their contracts and do not pay fees. These agencies are still operating, importing goods from overseas and preventing others from importing. The whole world has abolished exclusive agencies, with the exception of two countries, Lebanon and the United Arab Emirates, which abolished exclusive agencies 10 days ago,” the president continued.

Berri then adjourned the session after quorum was lost as al-Jadeed TV reported that parliament would not meet on Tuesday.

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