The Ministry of Finance denied the news that was circulated via social media regarding the new pricing mechanism set by the ministry for importing fuel at an exchange rate of 12,000 LBP.
The Ministry’s media office confirmed that the ministry is absolutely not concerned in setting the pricing mechanism, and that the Ministry of Energy and Water in cooperation with the Central Bank are solely responsible of setting this mechanism.
How will the financing card be funded, and will it actually be ready after a week, and whom are the individuals eligible to obtain it?
The President of the Republic requested activating the financing card before lifting subsidies. The Parliamentary Works Committee recommended yesterday to speed up the process of the financing card and implementing it within a maximum of a week, to be accompanied by the process of lifting subsidies.
Sawt Beirut International (SBI) sources confirmed that implementing the financing card within the specified time is logistically impossible, even if funding is secured and its platform is launched today.
Information indicated that funding the financing card will be secured through what is known as the ‘bridging loan’, which is a loan provided by the Central Bank, to be repaid when Lebanon obtains $300 million from the World Bank loan allocated for the express transport project in Beirut. It will also be repaid from its share of the Special Drawing Rights valued at $860 million, which it will receive from the International Monetary Fund two weeks later. It was approved that the aid will be used to fund the card and support fuel and medicine.
Assem Abi Ali, the General Supervisor of Lebanon Crisis Response Plan (LCRP) at Ministry of Social Affairs, confirmed to SBI that the platform for the financing card is ready to be launched, explaining that the platform system will automatically identify individuals who are eligible or not qualified to obtain the financing card, provided that beneficiaries of other support programs will be also automatically excluded.
Abi Ali explained that the maximum total value of the financing card may reach $115 per month if the family consists of 6 members, explaining that only one member of the same family can register on the platform, because only one card per family is entitled.
The criteria for benefiting from the financing card are:
Alvarez company has received $150,000 as a penalty clause for the forensic audit contract. Sources in the Ministry of Finance revealed to SBI that the forensic audit company, Alvarez & Marcel, received $150,000 in cash, paving the way for the signature of the new contract between the Ministry of Finance and the company to carry out the task of forensic audit regarding the Central Bank’s accounts.
The $150,000 represents the value of the penalty clause that was included in the first contract signed by the Lebanese government and Alvarez, which was canceled after the company considered that the Central Bank did not submit the documents required to accomplish its mission. Minister of Finance Ghazi Wazni had sent a payment order to the Central Bank early this week in favor of Alvarez. After completing the payment process, the Ministry of Finance is waiting for the company to sign the contract, after which the Minister of Finance will sign and immediately enter into force.