The joint House committees -Finance, Administration, Defense, Interior, Public Works and Energy- held recently a session chaired by deputy-speaker Elie Ferzli and in the presence of several MPs and representatives where proposals for laws on the committees' agenda were discussed and approved.
During the session the joint House committees approved two new laws:
- The first allows the government to build a tunnel connecting the capital to Bekaa using a BOT (build-operate-transfer) system.
- The second allows Zahle and other districts to conduct their own urban planning.
Speaking about the first law, deputy-speaker Elie Ferzli expressed his happiness by saying, "I can speak with joy about the achievement of the meeting of the Joint Committees today because it has completed a very important, extraordinary and historical matter in the country."
He went on explaining that the project will connect the Port of Beirut to the Arab world, making Lebanon "a hub for maritime trade in the Middle East." He expressed his hope that the project will have the green light of the Cabinet and lawmakers in the general assembly of the Parliament.
The second law approved by the committee calls for a number of districts to establish offices to carry out their own urban planning operations. These districts are: Zahle, Sidon, Nabatieh, Baabda, Halba, and Baalbeck. The municipalities of Beirut and Tripoli have already such offices.
"All these main cities and governorate centers in Lebanon were given the authority to own technical equipment and funds to have their own urban planning system," Ferzli said, stating that this would save cities in those districts from having to go to Beirut for their operations.
One of the laws that the committee also discussed during that session was related to establishing development councils for Baalbeck-Hermel, Akkar, and north Lebanon. However, the lawmakers could not reach a decision, so they are set to meet again on Aug. 21 to continue discussing the law, among other legislation on the committee’s agenda.
On August 1st, Speaker of the House Nabih Berri called the joint House committees to convene in their upcoming session for the purpose of studying proposals related to the construction of Beirut-Bekaa tunnel through BOT model and the formation of development councils for Akkar and Baalbeck.