Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri said on Tuesday that smuggling is a real problem in his country and that the government is working seriously to close all illegal border crossings.
“Soon, the Lebanese will hear that a large number of smugglers, whether state employees or traders, are brought to justice,” the PM said.
The judiciary today is much better than it was in the past, he added, saying there will be no interventions in favor of the smugglers who will be arrested.
Hariri was speaking at the Lebanon Agriculture Development Conference 2019, organized by the Ministry of Agriculture, the Economic Office at the Council of Ministers, the Union of Agricultural Syndicates and the Federation of Chambers of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture in Lebanon, at the Phoenicia Hotel in Beirut.
He said that with the start of the war in Syria in 2012, smuggling in Lebanon dropped to 2 percent.
“Now that things in Syria have calmed down, smuggling has risen again to 30 and 40 percent, which is unacceptable, so we held meetings and are working to close all illegal crossings. The government will approve the issue of scanners and other detectors to focus on all land, sea and air ports,” Hariri revealed.
He cited a meeting held last week between the ministers of interior and defense, military commanders and customs officials to address smuggling.
Hariri admitted that the state is not doing enough for the agricultural sector due to a poor agricultural policy.
He added that the government was ready to support crops that enrich the country.
A comprehensive strategy is needed, not just for the agricultural sector, but for the energy, communications and industry fields, he stressed.