NNA - Deputy Prime Minister Saade Chami confirmed that the technical negotiations with the International Monetary Fund are almost over, "And we have entered the negotiation stage on monetary and economic policies in order to start negotiations with the IMF team, which we hope will visit Lebanon soon”.
Chami also pointed out that each minister works on his files within his jurisdiction, provided that the government's plan is announced upon its completion, noting that it requires the cabinet to convene for approval. Chamo expressed his hope to meet soon, stating that the three presidents are working towards this end.
Chami's stances came while meeting President of the Republic, General Michel Aoun, today at Baabda Palace.
Chami briefed the President on the course of negotiations with the International Monetary Fund.
After the meeting, Chami made the following statement:
“Today, I visited the President of the Republic to brief him on the progress of negotiations with the International Monetary Fund.
I informed the President that the technical negotiations are almost over and we have entered the negotiation stage on monetary and economic policies in order to start negotiating seriously with the IMF team, which we hope will visit Lebanon soon.
Our goal is still to reach a preliminary agreement before the end of the year, and after that, as it is imposed, we will reach a final agreement in January of next year. Negotiations with the IMF depend on several axes, including those related to fiscal policy, i.e. the budget, which is an essential element of negotiation, as the Minister of Finance is working to prepare for it as soon as possible, in addition to the issue of the exchange rate, monetary policy, and the banking and financial sector, and we are preparing a vision for how to solve this issue, which we will announce upon completion.
From here, everyone works within the framework of his competence, but we cannot announce a plan but when it is completed.
This is with regard to macroeconomic policies, as for structural policies, the government is working on the issue of poverty in addition to the electricity and energy policy, where the Minister of Energy works to find appropriate solutions and improve electricity supply, and as I said, we work each within his jurisdiction and as soon as the plan is completed we announce it”.
Questions & Answers:
Chami was asked about the impact of the issue of the parliamentary elections on the negotiations with the International Monetary Fund, and he replied: “The Fund will not link any issue to the elections, as it can sometimes affect the negotiations from the side of the concerned country, not from the side of the Fund, as it deals with the fact that if the Lebanese state reached a conclusion. An economic plan will then be looked at, and if it is good, the IMF will agree to it, but he will not interfere in the matter of the elections”.
And whether the plan and the numbers are unified, he answered: “Any plan will have unified numbers and everyone will agree on it. The committee charged with negotiating with the Fund is made up of 3 ministers and the governor of the Banque du Liban. It has convened several times and will continue its meetings in the near future to reach agreement on all elements of the plan”.
Regarding the forensic audit requirement that the fund insists on, Chami replied: “I am not at the heart of the audit issue, but as you know, work is being done. Yesterday, Baabda palace witnessed a meeting with the BDL Governor and the Minister of Finance, and we hope that things will go as quickly as possible”.
Regarding the unification of the exchange rate as one of the conditions of the IMF, he replied that “The unification of the exchange rate is the demand of everyone and I think that it will be a condition of the Fund because things cannot proceed in the country in light of the multiplicity of exchange rates. We hope that when the exchange rate is unified, and if we agree on an economic plan with the IMF, the price will improve, because then the money will flow into the country and confidence in it will be restored”.
Chami was then asked about the impact of the government’s failure on the work of the ministerial committees, where hr stressed that each of the ministers is working on his files, and so far there is no obstacle in our work, “But at some point we are faced with a need for a cabinet meeting, in order to present the plan, and I think that the three presidents are working on this issue. We hope that it will take place in the near future”.
About the impact of its failure on the negotiations with the IMF, Chami said: “The plan should be presented to the Council of Ministers first to be approved. There will be an impact on the negotiations with the Fund if it does not meet in the near future”.
And whether that will happen before the New Year, he answered, “God willing, the Cabinet will meet soon”.
The President received the President of the Antonine University, Father Michel Jalkh, accompanied by the Secretary-General and Vice-President for Administrative Affairs, Father Ziad Maatouk.
The delegation handed the President an invitation to attend the Christmas Mass on Wednesday, December 15, at 6:00 pm. -- Presidency Press Office