The Future and Resistance blocs facilitate construction in rural regions without addressing housing needs

Proposing the law of exemption of some building permits from fees according to prototypical designs.

It was referred to the Administration and Justice, Finance and Budget, and Public Works Committees on 10/6/2020.

The law proposal was submitted on 3/6/2020

Proposing the law aiming at reinstating Law No. 453/1995 and modifying some of its provisions.

The Public Works Committee completed the final version of the proposal on 19/10/2020, after obtaining agreement between all parliamentary blocs, and it was submitted to the Presidency of the parliament.

The two proposals were referred to the sub-committee derived from the Public Works, Transportation, Energy and Water committee. The sub-committee studied the two proposals together during 4 sessions, and merged the two texts after it was agreed to replace the “exemption” from fees with a “temporary reduction”. Accordingly, the title of the law was modified to become “A proposal for a law aimed at granting a temporary reduction on some construction fees according to prototypical designs.”

It was referred to the committees of Administration and Justice, Finance and Budget, and Public Works on 24/6/2020.

The law proposal was submitted on 23/6/2020.

In June 2020, MP Bahia Hariri of the Future Parliamentary Bloc submitted a proposal to exempt some building permits from fees, in case it follows standard designs. It is also striking that three representatives of the Loyalty to the Resistance Bloc (Hezbollah) proposed a similar law during the same month. Both proposals openly contribute to encouraging construction in unregulated regions by easing the burden of building permit costs -which fall on the shoulders of citizens who own or buy properties within these areas- and aim towards achieving development goals within these regions instead. These are the official rationales for the proposed laws.

A fundamental problem arises here, however, in terms of the standardization of people’s housing needs by linking their exemption from fees to their obligation to concede to ready-made standard designs which fail to account for different needs and/or geographical diversity between regions. These standardized designs are presented as a solution to the imminent problem of “unorganized” construction – a term used by authorities to hold people accountable for their conditions and for their failure to obtain legal licenses – knowing very well that the aforementioned lack of organization is but a product of the authorities’ procedures and policies, whether due to their delay in planning housing in previously unregulated areas or as a result of the construction law which does not take the environment, nature, and society into account, or lastly, as a result of the absence of fair housing policies.
As such, this law proposal is nothing but a deliberate protraction of the state’s resignation from its social responsibilities by offering partial solutions to problem it has produced and continues to exacerbate, at a time when it is absolutely imperative that we preserve the regions’ natural and socio-economic characteristics and achieve development within them by referring to the National Physical Master Plan of the Lebanese Territories, and thus limiting the forced displacement of populations from rural areas.

Land Management and Planning Lebanon