Friday, May 16, 2008

Lebanese coffee

You know how the last bout of Lebanese civil war was started because of two unfortunate decrees? You remember how the government was reluctant to withdraw the 2 decrees because, it said it would make the government look bad? Well read this: In the same ill-fated ministerial meeting in which the 2 decrees were taken, the government backtracked on another decree barely one month after it had taken it.

Apparently, the government had imposed a tax duty of 5% on imported green coffee beans, and no duty on roasted beans. The 2 largest importers, Sinno and Bsat, pleaded their case with their friend PM Sanioura, who found no problem in backtracking on the 2 decrees without the government losing face in the process.

But that's not the best bit. In a TV interview yesterday, Finance Minister Jihad Azour was asked about the elimination of the tax duty on green coffee bean. He looked extremely surprised, and did not seem to be aware that this decision was taken in a Council of Minister in which he participated.

This is not the first time I hear of such decisions being slipped at the last moment in the minutes of the council of ministers. As Mohammad Zbeeb asks: was it really worth going to war for such a corrupt government?


NewAmericanParadigm said...

Rami, I don't quite understand your point. Fin Min. was surprised that the tax was eliminated but he wasn't aware of it? How can it be?

Please explain.



Rami Zurayk said...

I think the writer is implying that this decision was "slipped" into the minutes of the meeting without it having actually been discussed, at least not in the presence of the Fin Min.