IMF may be discontented with Lebanon 2022 budget: Economy Minister
Economy Minister Amin Salam expresses concern over IMF’s dissatisfaction with numbers in Lebanon's 2022 budget.
Lebanon's 2022 budget may fall short of IMF requirements for a bailout program, a member of Lebanon's IMF negotiations team stated as quoted by Reuters.
An IMF agreement is being envisaged as a critical first step for Lebanon to begin exiting a three-year financial implosion that has left eight out of ten people impoverished and has been described by the World Bank as one of the worst crises in the world since the 1850s.
Deputy Secretary-General of Hezbollah Naim Qassem has lately told Al Mayadeen that the United States instructed the International Monetary Fund not to give Lebanon a loan to import electricity from Jordan and natural gas from Egypt. "The US administration does not have a problem with the Lebanese populace starving to achieve its plan, which serves Israel," he said.
It is worth noting that Lebanon reached a staff-level agreement (SLA) with the international lender in April for a $3 billion bailout, outlining roughly ten preconditions, including the adoption of the country's 2022 budget, that must be met before the program is approved by the IMF board.
On his account, Economy Minister Amin Salam said, "I am very concerned that the IMF could not be satisfied with the numbers in the budget."
"If they (the IMF) don't see that it reflects at least halfway of what they expect, it’s going to be a problem," Salam said.
Lebanon's parliament has yet to complete any of the four IMF preconditions, including the 2022 budget, capital controls, and a banking sector restructuring law.
Lebanon's cabinet has completed some of the pre-conditions imposed by the IMF, most notably the approval of a financial recovery plan.
Following the adoption of an amended banking secrecy law by parliament in July, the IMF stated that it was "a substantial reform... but (a) few key deficiencies remain."