| 18 April 2024, Thursday |

President Aoun meets IMF delegation, says political wrangling worsened economic situation

President of the Republic, General Michel Aoun, received the head of the International Monetary Fund mission, Ernesto Ramirez, accompanied by a delegation from the mission.

The results of the contacts made by Mr. Ramirez with a number of Lebanese officials in the financial and banking sectors were deliberated.

Mr. Ramirez expressed the IMF’s thanks for the position taken by President Aoun in his response to the law amending the Banking Secrecy Law to introduce amendments to it that would make it conform to international standards.

Ramirez also expressed the appreciation of the IMF management for the support provided by the President to the reforms mentioned in the terms of the initial agreement, last April.

For his side, President Aoun told the delegation that he was awaiting for the achievement of many reform measures agreed with the IMF, but that several obstacles emerged from a number of parties at home that delayed achieving what was required, “Which constitutes the beginning of the economic recovery process, but these obstacles deepened the rate of decline in the economic situation.

Mr. Ramirez had also expressed the IMF’s management’s desire to continue cooperation and support with Lebanon despite all the delays that occurred.

Ramirez revealed that he was surprised of the ambiguity that prevailed at the level of the executive and legislative authorities, especially in terms of carrying out the necessary reforms to advance the Lebanese economy, especially since every delay leads to Lebanon losing time and results.

Moreover, the IMF delegation stressed the need to restore confidence in the financial and banking sector represented by the Banque du Liban and banks, given the loss of confidence in these two sectors.

The delegation also pointed out that they had hoped that Lebanon would make progress in the field of reforms after the parliamentary elections to be able to sign the final financing agreement in late September or early October.

Finally, the delegation stressed the need to unify the exchange rate and expedite the preparation of the draft budget for 2023 after approving the current year’s budget.

The President had praised the efforts made by the International Monetary Fund to help Lebanon, and the role played in this regard by Mr. Ramirez and the resident representative in Lebanon, Mr. Federico Lima.

The delegation included Mr. Ramirez and Mr. Lima, in addition to: Roberto Tchaidze, Thierry Bale, Jeff Kaym, Svetlana Serovic, Rita Ashkar and Layal Al-Hashem.

On the Lebanese side: Former Minister Salim Jreissati, former Minister Mansour Bteish, Director General of the Presidency, Dr. Antoine Choucair, and advisors Charbel Kordahi, Rafik Haddad, and Maya Choueiri.

  • NNA