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Lebanon MPs approve $200 million loan for electricity company

A Lebanese protester wearing a protective mask holds a placard during a protest outside the ministry of energy in Beirut on 4 August 2020 against the recurrent power cuts. [STR/AFP via Getty Images]
A Lebanese protester wearing a protective mask holds a placard during a protest outside the ministry of energy in Beirut on 4 August 2020 against the recurrent power cuts. [STR/AFP via Getty Images]

Lebanese lawmakers voted on Tuesday in favour of transferring a $200 million loan from the 2021 budget for the country's electricity company to buy fuel to operate its power plants, Anadolu news agency reported.

The vote came during a joint session of the Finance and Budget, Public Works, Transport, Energy and Water and Administration and Justice Committees.

The law will now move forward to be voted upon by the full parliament.

Minister of Energy and Water, Raymond Ghajar, has recently warned that the country might experience a total power outage by the end of March if a cash injection is not made.

The Lebanese National News Agency said the Lebanese Forces party led by Samir Geagea and the Progressive Socialist Party led by Walid Jumblatt have objected to the loan without explaining the reasons.

MP Fadi Abu Al-Hassan of the Socialist Party told reporters following the meeting that "at all stages, the equation was either secure the loan or total darkness, but the solution should be to implement real reforms… without that, it is blackmail."

Lebanon has been experiencing long hours of power outages that reach up to 20 hours a day in some regions due to lack of fuel needed to generate power, either for the electricity company or for the owners of small generators.

READ: Palestine refugees in Lebanon protest unaffordability of bread

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