BEIURT: Finance Minister of Lebanon, Ali Hasan Khalil, announced to continue efforts to fight against the corrupt customs officers at Lebanon’s Customs Department.
“We will not retreat but will increase our determination to complete reform,” he said after inspecting the customs department at Beirut’s port Thursday.
In order to minimize smuggling, the finance minister said that all cargo entering the port would be subject to inspection, despite criticism from merchants who complain of a delay in receiving cargo.
Traders have said that shipments that would usually be processed within 2 days of their arrival at the port are being stalled for weeks, due to the heightened inspection measures.
Khalil, however, said he would resolve the issue by increasing the number of inspectors. He also announced that the customs department would receive scanners that would expedite cargo inspection.
During Thursday’s Cabinet session, ministers discussed means of resolving issues burdening Lebanon’s customs department, Khalil said.
The finance minister, who urged the cooperation of all relevant parties, said a solution would require “painful decisions.”
Khalil partially attributed the prevalence of corruption and bribery to a “cooperation gap” between the ministry and the board of the customs department.
“The customs administration should determine what products are being transported and the measures that should be taken,” he said. “[The ministry’s] job is to provide its services and facilitate the work.”