IMF says Lebanon aid deal needs more work
After two weeks of negotiations, the IMF says the assistance program needs more work.
The IMF said Friday that after two weeks of negotiations, it has made progress in securing an aid program to assist Lebanon in overcoming its "unprecedented and complex" economic crisis, but stressed that more work is needed.
The government would require budgetary changes to assure debt management, as well as steps to construct a "credible" currency system, according to a statement issued by the International Monetary Fund at the completion of its virtual negotiation mission.
IMF team head Ernesto Ramirez Rigo stated that "during the mission, progress was made in agreeing on these necessary reform areas, although more work is needed to translate them into concrete policies."
Last month, the Washington-based lender began discussions to help the Middle Eastern country recover from its mounting economic crisis. Lebanon defaulted on its national debt for the first time in its history in 2020.
According to the United Nations, its currency has lost about 90% of its value on the black market, and four out of every five Lebanese now live below the poverty line, a condition exacerbated by triple-digit inflation.
According to Ramirez Rigo, "strong upfront actions will be necessary to start turning the economy around and rebuilding confidence."
Rigo also urged authorities to take decisive action to "tackle the deep-seated problem of corruption."
He noted, however, that any program must have a budgetary strategy that allows the government to engage in vitally needed social expenditures to help the people.
Last week, IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva called the country's condition "very, very dire."