Salam: Lebanon is in a very advanced stage of agreement talks with the World Bank on economic sustainability programs

NNA – Caretaker Minister of Economy and Trade, Amin Salam, indicated during an interview with “Al-Sharq” news channel, that “Lebanon is in a very advanced stage” of discussions with the World Bank regarding a program that supports vital sectors of the economy."

On the sidelines of his participation in the spring meetings of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, Salam noted that “the talks with the World Bank focused on sustainability programs that create growth in the Lebanese economy.”

He added: “A program was discussed that addresses economic issues and supports the technology and agricultural sectors and those that create job opportunities and economic activity, particularly since Lebanon suffers greatly from these problems and needs programs that address these crises.”

Salam continued to stress that “the World Bank is still a great supporter of Lebanon in vital projects related to food security and social provisions, which have created a kind of stability in the recent period.”

He explained that last May, the World Bank allocated $300 million in additional financing to the most underprivileged families amidst Lebanon’s worst economic and financial crises in its history, as described by the World Bank itself. “This financing package will allow for the continuation and expansion of the provision of cash transfers to 160,000 poor families for a period of 24 months, and will support the development of a unified social safety net system in Lebanon,” Salam maintained.

Asked about the relationship with the IMF, Salam pointed out that “the Fund’s patience has run out and its officials were clear during the meetings,” adding that “if we do not act, the IMF will withdraw this opportunity from Lebanon, and we will be facing an unknown future in terms of regaining the confidence of the international community.”

He revealed that the Lebanese authorities and a team of IMF experts have reached an agreement since April 2022 on the comprehensive economic policies that can be followed to benefit from the extended fund facility equivalent to $3 billion. Unfortunately however, the agreement has not reached the implementation phase to-date due to the Lebanese authorities’ delay in approving the required reforms, as he explained.

Salam pointed to a “political decision” in the country that “obstructs the adoption of the necessary reform laws," reiterating that the IMF “is no longer willing to listen to excuses or mere talk without results.”

 

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