| 8 February 2023, Wednesday |

Salameh: We’re ready to start spending for mandatory reserve if you want us to!

The Governor of the Banque du Liban Riad Salameh affirmed that the decision to end fuel subsidies was not made to impede the formation of a government, claiming that financing imports from mandated reserves required legislative approval from Parliament.

According to Riad Salameh, who spoke to the government, “Let’s head to the Parliament and burn all these monies to get gasoline. It is our job to ensure funds. If you pass the law, we’ll be able to ensure the funds. We are ready if you want us to spend from the mandatory reserve.”

“The Central Bank’s mandatory reserve has exceeded the red line, and it must now stop financing these debts and find an alternative,” he concluded. “Parliament could pass a law allowing the Banque du Liban to fund fuel imports with appropriate investments.”

Lebanon’s mandatory reserve, according to the Governor of the Banque du Liban, is 14 billion dollars, and options include legislation or the emergence of a new cabinet with a reform program. He stated, “We made a mistake when we imagined there would be reforms.”

Salameh confirmed that everyone was aware of the decision regarding lifiting fuel subsidies, the government, the Parliament and the Presidency of the Republic, and that what some have depicted as the ruler acting unilaterally is incorrect, as the Central Council is the one who makes policy decisions, and I am bound by the Central Council’s decisions.

“It is unacceptable that we import 820 million dollars of fuel and still lack diesel, gasoline, and electricity,” he said, adding that “we believed that what we financed with 820 million dollars of fuel would suffice for three months,” but “the merchants are responsible for disbursing the goods illogically. It barely lasts for a month.”

In response to MP Gebran Bassil, Free Patriotic Movement’s Head, he said, “I am the governor of the Central Bank, he is the ruler of the country, and I do not want to play his part,” wishing for the formation of a government today rather than tomorrow.”

Salameh, on the other hand, believes that if a government is formed in Lebanon, the dollar exchange rate would decline, but he admits that he does not know which banks will resist.

  • Sawt Beirut International