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Since the early 1990s, successive Lebanese governments have mismanaged the municipal fund.In addition, the government has withheld the transfer of the value-added tax on mobile phones to municipalities (Article 55 of Law 379), hence depriving them of at least $1 billion in revenues over a 10-year period.The government has spent money from the IMF on items which are not authorized by Decree-Law 118/1977 or Distribution Decree 1917 of 1979 .To legalize such action, the government issued Decree 3038 in 2000, which authorized the Council of Ministers to spend IMF money on works that can benefit some but not all municipalities.Even though this was considered illegal by the Court of Accounts, it paved the way for Budget Law 326, which allowed the government to charge some 255 municipalities benefiting from the solid waste collection services 40 percent of their IMF share. The call for "liberating IMF money" must address these violations by the central government. To this end, we need to call for an honest audit of IMF accounts over the last two decades to determine whether the money that was supposed to be collected found its way into the fund.
Municipal reform is particularly urgent
Legislating for their own necessity
What decentralization law do parties really want?
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