Food Importers’ Syndicate Head, Hani Bohsali, on Monday blamed the chaos in prices nationwide on the incessantly increasing USD exchange rate against the LBP “at the full absence of all the country’s official financial authorities from the matter.”
“Neither the Lebanese Central Bank, the Ministry of Finance, nor any side responsible for public funds, has intervened to curb the incessant rise in the USD price against the LBP, which has led to the inability of merchants to price goods and to deliver them to consumers as expected,” Bohsali told the National News Agency.
“We, as importers, merchants, supermarkets, or industrialists, and even as citizens, can no longer handle the situation — while officials remain elsewhere; we have not heard a statement from the Ministry of Finance or the Central Bank on the matter. I myself buy USD from money changers, not from the bank!” he exclaimed.
Bohsali then said that the problem was rampant and that citizens were the only victims.
“Merchants buy their goods in USD, whose price has reached LBP 13 thousand, and the biggest problem is that it is no longer available in the market. If we continue in this manner, we will witness a great shortage of goods in approximately a month,” warned Bohsali.
Regarding the empty bags of subsidized items that were found in some areas, he affirmed that not all merchants were greedy. “There are 20,000 points of sale in Lebanon, that is, 20,000 retailers and about 3,000 half-wholesalers, 2,000 wholesalers, and 5,000 importers,” he explained.
On the issue of subsidized items, he went on to appeal to the Minister of Economy “not to sign any request for importing subsidized items that might be smuggled out of the country.”