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.