Leban says he's doing the quick fixes that need to be done immediately

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Leban says he's doing the quick fixes that need to be done immediately

In his first interview with an international media outlet since forming government a week ago, Mikati acknowledged that some Lebanese would struggle to put their faith in him and his government after so many politicians have failed them in the past.

But, he told CNN, it is time to get a government to take decisions and erase the country's political vacuum, before elections that are planned for May next.

I'm doing the quick fixes that need to be done immediately, particularly energy, health, education, work and transparency, and show the Lebanese that there is a governance. There is a transparency. And certainly it will take, he said. He did not clarify how he would carry out these fixes.

Mikati, a billionaire who served prior to 2005 as the caretaker prime minister, heads an economic cabinet which will preside over an economic depression that The World Bank considers one of the world's worst since the mid 19th century.

There are even more in the government, but while there are new faces in the government, many have been blamed for the corruption that led to the country's economic breakdown by the same establishment and groups handpicked. The world's most enduring economic issue facing new government is the country's expensive subsidies program. The Lebanese government increased oil prices by more than 37% on Friday as the country continues to remove subsidies on imports in an attempt to attract international monetary aid. The decision is expected to raise prices for the Lebanese people, who are already struggling with rising poverty levels. But according to Mikati, some 74% of more than $10 billion in subsidies were misused over the past year by corrupt people in Lebanon - and the program is unsustainable. The subsidies are almost lifted because we don't have any more cash or reserves to subsidize oil or other commodities, Mikati said. You are going to retain the subsidies for medicine, but that subsidy will be lifted for other commodities. It is important to move from subsidies to start negotiations with the International Monetary Fund, World Bank and the International community, Mikati said. Last month, Lebanon's Central Bank issued a statement saying that the fuel subsidies were being exploited by businesses. In July alone, almost $800 million was paid in import subsidies, however the fuel shortage still rampant. Lebanon has spent 13 months without a fully formed government since former prime minister Hassan Diab stepped down after a deadly explosion ripped through Beirut's port last year. It is in need of support from the Arab world, Mukti said. A year after the Beirut blast, survivors are still grieving, still angry and waiting for justice Lebanon is a small foreign country in the Arab world and we are looking for the big brother from all Arab countries to come take our hand and immediately save Lebanon from this mess, Mikati said. A stable Lebanon will benefit the whole arab world. Asked about the presence of Hezbollah allies in his government, Mikati said: Hezbollah exists in Lebanon as a political party. The Arab countries have yet to call Mikati since the formation of his government last week, however he remains optimistic that he will get a positive response, Mikati said. The Prime Minister added that he had received calls from members of the US administration in the past week, all of which were supportive of his government, but that US President Joe Biden did not call him. On Thursday, Hezbollah had filled tanks with Iranian fuel in Bekaa valley of Lebanon defiance of US sanctions. However, Mikati said that fuel shipment was not approved by the Lebanese government. The Lebanese government didn't approve this so I don't believe Lebanese government would be subject to any sanctions, he said. Meanwhile, more than a year after the port explosion, there are still many unanswered questions about what led to the tragedy? Mikati reiterated that he is calling for an international investigation into the explosion. I can't say who, but definitely there is someone to blame, he said.