SAWT BEIRUT INTERNATIONAL

| 23 June 2021, Wednesday |

Will Central Bank’s electronic platform reduce dollar exchange rate

Caretaker Minister of Finance Ghazi Wazni offered the Governor of the Central Bank Riad Salameh the initial approval to launch the electronic platform. Economist Basil Al Khatib told “Sawt Beirut International” correspondent Mahasin Mursal that the platform is not the first of its kind in Lebanon, as the country have experienced previously in April 2020 a similar platform, which have unfortunately failed to fulfill its required purpose.

After one year of its launch, the government aims at revealing a similar platform, amid talks about lifting subsidies. Al Khatib said: “Once the government lifts its support, traders and importers will resort to the platform, therefore demand for dollars will increase, but the question that arises in this context is how dollars will be secured, especially that that there is huge shortage in dollars in banks and in the Central Bank as well.”

Al Khatib said: “We ​​hope the platform will succeed in its mission, but unfortunately this is a temporary solution.” He added that the platform will lead to a drop in the dollar exchange rate against the Lebanese pound in the first two weeks, and will improve the value of the Lebanese pound by 10 percent. The expatriates visiting the country during holidays will also contribute in improving the situation, as they will be spending in fresh dollars. Al Khatib concluded that this policy is fragmented and  wasn’t a solution in any of the countries that applied it.

The platform’s fate is similar to its predecessor, as long as the main problem, which is the scarcity of dollars in a country that relies on foreign currency, has not been solved.