| 26 September 2022, Monday |

Lebanon to start virtual talks with IMF on Jan. 24

An official government source informed Reuters that Lebanese authorities will begin negotiations with the International Monetary Fund on Monday.

On Saturday, an IMF official told Reuters that a delegation will begin virtual talks with Lebanese authorities next week.

The Lebanese government has stated that it intends to strike an initial financial arrangement with the fund between January and February. Lebanon is in the middle of a historic financial crisis, and an IMF agreement is largely seen as the only option for it to get help.

In December, the fund stated that it was evaluating a $69 billion amount given by Lebanese officials for losses in the country’s financial industry.

Disagreements in Lebanon about the magnitude of the losses and how they should be allocated jeopardized IMF discussions in 2020. The central bank, banks, and political elite all rejected statistics from a government plan that had been approved by the IMF at the time.

Lebanon’s Prime Minister Najib Mikati stated in September that his cabinet’s financial recovery plan will include a fair distribution of losses experienced by the banking sector, but the cabinet has not met since October.

It will meet again on Monday to debate the 2022 budget, but no specifics regarding the recovery plan have been disclosed.

The Lebanese financial system failed in 2019 as a result of decades of official corruption and waste, as well as the unsustainable manner in which it was supported. Slowing inflows of hard cash into the banking sector, which loaned substantially to the government, were the catalyst.

Several measures that the IMF is expected to demand, such as lowering subsidies and unifying Lebanon’s chaotic cash economy’s multiple exchange rates, are already becoming reality as hard money runs out, according to political insiders.

  • alarabiya