PRESIDENT AOUN BRIEFED ON WORK OF INFORMATION MINISTRY, SITUATION OF CATHOLIC SCHOOLS

President Michel Aoun met Information Minister, Manal Abdel Samad, today at the Presidential Palace. Abdel Samad confirmed continuing to serve the national cause that serves the entire country, and defending the rights of people and standing up against any wrong decision which doesn’t take the country’s interest into account.

“We continue with our stances hoping that we will remain conscientious with the Government and the living conscience that doesn’t express any personal, political or sectarian interest, above the nation’s interest” the Information Minister stated.
Minister Abdel Samad also briefed the President on her Ministry’s work and about the atmosphere of proposing the Media Law after completion of all amendments, in addition to numerous issues related to both private and public media sectors.
Statement of Information Minister, Manal Abdel Samad:
“I had the honor to meet His Excellency, the President, and I put him in the atmosphere of work development in the Information Ministry, and informed him about the projects in which we have implemented our amendments in the proposal of the Information Law, in its final form, with all the remarks we took from specialists and submitted these remarks to the Chairman of the Administration and Justice Committee, hoping that this law will be soon approved in the General Authority, since it is linked to a new structure for public information institutions, the role of public and private media and other issues related to this sector.
I also briefed his Excellency about appointments in the Board of Directors of Television Liban, we are currently completing the second screening process for nomination applications and we start next week with the oral interviews, and we, and the President, were keen to choose the most efficient for the position of the Board of Directors and members, and we are continuing in a transparent objective mechanism that taken into account the efficiency and justice. In addition, we briefed his Excellency about the handling of some outstanding files in our Ministry that date back to year 2018, which are related to personnel affairs, as well as some files and cases that cost the state’s budget million, which we can benefit the state by solving this issue which will be addressed soon”.
Questions & Answers:
Question: Is there a time limit for appointing the Board of Directors of Lebanon Television?
Answer: “We have determined next week and we start the interviews from Monday for a full week. We are supposed to know the names of the candidates within two weeks in a final form, and then we will submit 3 names to the Council of Ministers. That is, before the end of August, we should have all the names”.
Question: What about organizing the work of websites?
Answer: “It was noted that the work of the websites was organized within the media law, and we took it in approval to issue a decree in the transitional phase to create a department for electronic sites within the structure of the Ministry of Information. We will collect statistics and information about these sites under any legal framework until the media law is finally issued”.
Question: How do you see the position of the Government after the resignation of the Foreign Minister and the appointment of another Minister, especially since you issued a statement on this issue?
Answer: “We consider that all this news doesn’t serve national interest, and we affirm our continuation of the national cause that serves the entire country and continue to defend people rights. And we continue our positions in the hope that we will remain the conscience of the Government and the living conscience that does not resort to any personal interest”.
Question: What about contractors in the Lebanese state?
Answer: “We have an event that every person who deals or contracts with the Lebanese state, and their number is around 3000, that each person takes his right, especially since he who served 20 to 40 years in the private sector takes his full rights, so how if he served his country? We stress the importance of this matter and justice among the employees, and being responsible for the media file, I have requested that the contractors be included in the contracting charter, and that everyone has been included in this context in order to achieve justice, in the hope that this matter will soon be approved in the Parliament”.

Father Boutros Azar:
The President also met Catholic Schools’ Secretary-General, Father Boutros Azar Al-Antoni, and the President of the Federation of Associations of Old Catholic Schools in Lebanon, Naji El-Khoury, and was briefed on the educational situation and the conditions of schools while the academic year approaches, especially Catholic schools.
Father Azar said that he tackled the needs of schools, with President Aoun, especially the fate of the contributions due to free and discontinued schools since year 2015 till now, pointing out that the Parliamentary Education Committee approved a draft decree referred to by the Government granting private schools 350 Billion Lebanese pounds as a contribution in installments for year tuition 2019-2020, and schools have not yet received any amount. Azar rejected the accusations directed at Catholic schools, indicating that “Law 515/96 and its amendments regulate the school budget at rates that are 65% lower for salaries and wages and 35% more for employment and development. It is understood that some of our schools are not using more than 10% for operation and development, which lead the mentioned 65% to reach 90% sometimes”.
“As an indication of the reality, we carried out accurate statistics with schools to determine the value of the collected premiums, so the result was: 48% for the first semester, 27% for the second, 11% for the third, meaning an annual rate of 28% of premium totals. We pay the 65% of salaries and wages, knowing that our schools are non-profit organizations and have no savings, especially since they have borne a lot since the promulgation of Law 46/2017” Father Azar continued.
Father Azar then indicated his proposals to the President of the Republic:
1- Calling for an educational workshop which includes representatives of the private educational sector with competence to participate with specialists in economics, education, social science and constitutional science, in order to develop a medium and long term future plan to support the private educational sector, locally and globally.
2- Allocating a special session of the Council of Ministers, followed by a special and emergency session for the Parliament to develop appropriate laws to save educational institutions, including those related to the “Educational Card” and in partnership between the private and public sectors.

For his side, President Aoun responded by asserting his direct follow-up to the educational situation in the country, pointing to the existence of several proposals currently under study in preparation for the appropriate Cabinet decisions to be taken.

Adha Feast Congratulations:
President Aoun then received congratulation cables on the occasion of ‘Eid Al Adha, from Arab and Islamic country Presidents and Kings, including: Jordanian King, Abdullah II Bin Al Hussein, Algerian President, Abdul Majeed Taboun, Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkmenistan President, Qurban Gul Bardemio Hamidov, Afghanistan President, Mohammed Ashraf Ghani, Bahrain Prime Minister, Khalifa Bin Salman Al Khalifa, Sudan President, Abdul fattah Al-Burhan Abdul Rahman, Secretary-General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, Yusuf Bin Ahmed Al-Shiseen, and Deputy Secretary-General Executive of the Economic and Social Committee for Western Asia, Dr. Rala Dashti.

 

 

Source: National News Agency