President of the Republic, General Michel Aoun, met an International Monetary Fund delegation, today at Baabda Palace.
The IMF delegation consisted of: Assistant Director, Mr. Thanos Arvanitis, new Head of the IMF Mission in Lebanon, Mr. Ernesto Rigo Ramirez, the outgoing Head of Mission, Martin Cerisola, from the Lebanese Office, Ms. Najla Nakhleh, and from the Executive Director Office, Ms. Maya Choueiry.
Mr. Arvanitis introduced the new head of mission in Lebanon, to President Aoun, and stressed IMF readiness to continue helping Lebanon to develop an integrated program which would enable Lebanon to confront the current financial and economic crisis.
Mr. Arvanitis also pointed out that such a program requires concerted efforts by all governmental and political parties and consensus among them to support this comprehensive and integrated plan which restores confidence in the Lebanese economic situation.
In addition, Arvanitis listed the foundations on which this plan is supposed to be based, and asserted the need to expedite work, placing IMF capabilities at Lebanon’s disposal for this purpose.
For his part, the President welcomed the delegation and the new head of mission, and wished them success in their tasks. The President also stressed Lebanon’s commitment to develop an implementable reform plan and cooperate with the IMF for its swift approval, through the talks which will take place between Lebanese and international sides.
Moreover, the President briefed the delegation on the stages of the process of reaching the start of forensic audit into Central Bank accounts, in order to determine losses and responsibilities in preparation for loss-distribution. President Aoun also pointed to the obstacles which have been placed in the path of this necessary reform work, in addition to following-up on the ongoing financial audit by auditing institutions “Oliver Wyman” and KPMG.
On the other hand, President Aoun asserted prioritizing social and health issues, confronting poverty and proceeding with the reform of Lebanon’s infrastructure such as electricity, communications and Beirut Port rehabilitation, as well as water projects, dams and other issues without ignoring the importance of the services sector in the Lebanese economy, in addition to industry and agriculture sectors.
In conclusion, the President affirmed that the IMF mission in Lebanon will be in constant contact with the concerned Lebanese officials to reach consensus on the terms of the reform plan which will gradually achieve the promised economic recovery.