Central Bank Governor Riad Salameh said in a statement: “I am keen to tell Lebanese some vital facts to keep them aware of what is happening, especially to confront those who exploit the financial, economic and social crisis for their sake.
Salameh added, “Despite the economic and monetary conditions, and our insistence on respecting mandatory investment and Article 91 of the Monetary and Credit Law, and despite the catastrophic consequences of the state’s failure since 2020 to pay its foreign debts, we have taken all possible steps to be attentive about how to sell, and distribute dollars to importers, putting the citizens’ interests on top of our priorities.
Based on this, the Central Bank sold during July 2021 around $293 million. The total value allocated for importing gasoline and diesel reached $708 million, and this number includes previous approvals of $415 million. Additional $120 million were allocated to Electricité du Liban to import fuel, bringing the total to $828 million.
Salameh added: “Despite all the support provided by the Central Bank and its insistence on protecting social security and securing the minimum level of the citizens’ needs, Lebanese are still suffering from a shortage of diesel fuel, and sometimes they lack buying it at the subsidized official price. A black market has emerged blackmailing Lebanese in their most basic rights, including electricity.”
He added: “This had affected hospitals and food security negatively, because some traders are either smuggling these commodities or storing it to sell it later on the black market. This is due to the government’s failure in taking strict measures to stop the citizens’ suffering.
Salameh confirmed that the solution is not by holding the responsibility of these life crises to the Central Bank, which has undertaken its duties and secured the funds, but the solution is rather for those concerned to bear their responsibilities to secure the delivery of subsidized commodities to the citizens directly instead of selling in on the black market.”