SAWT BEIRUT INTERNATIONAL

| 23 September 2021, Thursday |

How will the $860 million granted by IMF be utilized in Lebanon?

The International Monetary Fund has decided in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic and its repercussions on economies, to grant IMF members what is known a Special Drawing Rights (SDR), which means to supplement the official reserves of its member countries. Lebanon is among these countries and is likely to receive worth $860 million dollars.

In this regard, the Economist Mounir Younes talks to Sawt Beirut International (SBI) reporter Mahasen Morsel about Lebanon’s quota. He said that the quota is the annual subscription for Lebanon to the IMF, which is called a supplementary reserve, that belongs to all IMF member. “These accumulated annual subscriptions turn into SDRs,” he said.

“The Executive Board of the IMF suggested redistributing the accumulated $650 billion as the whole countries are struggling to curb the pandemic, or return it to the countries as it is a supplementary reserve. Lebanon’s share is around $900 million,” Younes said.

“Two days ago, the Ministry of Finance announced that around $200 million of these funds might be allocated to finance the financing card for the poor, and another $200 million will be allocated to the health sector to confront the pandemic, and $500 million would be deposited at the Central Bank of Lebanon as reserves.

A problem arises in this context, according to Younes, who said: “Lebanese have no confidence anymore in the country and the suspicious relationship between the Central Bank and the politicians. The question in this context, how will the $500 million be spent, as people must keep alerted about how this money will be spent before the Parliamentary elections.”

On how to supervise the Central Bank, Younes said: “The civil society activists as well as the media can play a vital role in this regard and should handle this task. The Central Bank should not take risk in these funds because it is the citizens’ right.”

The fate of this money, like others, is settled for electoral investments. This ruling system, including the politicians will buy the citizens’ votes in Parliamentary elections with this money and with other goods such as milk for children, medicine, or even quantities of gasoline and diesel fuel. These officials have drove people to this catastrophic situation in order to preserve their gains.