| 30 May 2024, Thursday |

Lebanese Minister sees ‘harmony’ in talks over financial losses

The Economy Minister stated on Wednesday that Lebanon’s banking industry, central bank, and other financial system stakeholders are working in “harmony” to agree on the extent and distribution of losses experienced during the country’s economic catastrophe.

Lebanon is suffering from a severe financial crisis, which Prime Minister Najib Mikati’s new government has pledged to address by resuming talks with the International Monetary Fund.

Talks between the previous government and the IMF broke down last year in large part due to disagreement in Lebanon over the scale of the losses and how they should be distributed.

Economists say agreement on the losses is a prerequisite for IMF negotiations to begin.

The banks, central bank and major political parties disputed the scale of losses as they were set out in last year’s government plan that identified a $90 billion hole in the system.

Economy Minister Amin Salam told broadcaster al-Jadeed that meetings were underway over the losses, grouping the banking sector, the central bank, the insurance sector, and others.

“What I can say is that all parties are in total agreement and coordination so that these losses are dispersed in a reasonable and equitable manner,” he said.

“God willing, the following days will explain a bit – in the figures, or in the details – how the process of loss distribution and loss size will occur,” he remarked.

Mikati said on Monday that he will meet with Lazard, the financial advising firm that prepared the plan, to see how it could be evolved into a “more realistic” strategy for getting the country out of its crisis.

  • Reuters