The deputy prime minister of the Lebanese caretaker government, His Excellency Al-Shami, warned that “the country is collapsing and disintegrating before our eyes,” stressing that delaying the required reforms will make solutions more difficult and painful in the country.
Al-Shami said, in an article published by “Nidaa Al-Watan” newspaper in its issue issued yesterday, “I have repeatedly said that if prevarication continues and precious time is wasted, then we are going to more tragic situations and unimaginable circumstances.”
He added, “We are nearing the first anniversary of our agreement with the Fund on an integrated financial and economic reform plan, but only a small part of the procedures required to conclude the final agreement have been implemented.”
Al-Shami stressed that the International Monetary Fund “will not withdraw from Lebanon, and this is what the Fund’s mission reaffirmed, and that the agreement on the staff level is based on its basic joints. But if we are reluctant to implement the required reforms, and if we do not do what we must, then this practically means that we are the ones who want to withdraw from the agreement that was approved by the three presidents and approved by the Council of Ministers.
The deputy prime minister of the Lebanese caretaker government said: “The decision is ours, and the future of Lebanon is in our hands. The International Monetary Fund and the international community are auxiliary elements, but they are not the ones who decide our fate.”
And he announced that “the faltering of reform harms Lebanon’s reputation and the extent of donor countries’ willingness to secure the necessary financing, and this increases the difficulty and cost of the procedures, and this in turn may make the fund more stringent.”
Al-Shami said, “The exchange rate is a mirror of the difficult economic, financial and monetary conditions, as well as the crisis political conditions resulting from the irregular work of the constitutional institutions.”
And he considered that “financing the deficit in the general budget, resulting from an increase in expenditures that is not matched by an increase in revenues, led to wasteful printing of the currency and a steady rise in the volume of the monetary mass, which resulted in pressure on the exchange rate and an insane rise in prices.”
He added, “The Central Bank intervenes from time to time to curb the rise in the exchange rate, withdrawing from the market quantities of Lebanese pounds in exchange for an additional loss in foreign reserves, that is, more draining of depositors’ money, and then returning to buy dollars from the parallel market to avoid a decrease in foreign reserves.” This scene is repeated periodically.
He pointed out that “these are all temporary, fragmented and costly solutions that come as a reaction outside a coordinated plan and a package of reform measures, so the cycle continues in a vicious circle,” considering that the continuation of this approach will lead to “excessive inflation that brings us back to the memory of what happened in Germany after the First World War, And to what Venezuela suffers in the modern era.
And he believed that “Lebanon needs statesmen far from populism who lead public opinion and are not led by it, who tell citizens the bitter truth, and take bold positions for the benefit of all.”
He added, “The country is collapsing and disintegrating before our eyes. The building is cracking and crumbling, and some are waiting for it to collapse completely, thinking that they can build it again and according to their measurements, not caring that this may not be possible to accommodate everyone.”
Lebanon has been suffering from a financial and economic crisis since October 2019, which had repercussions on various sectors, as the deterioration in the living conditions of the Lebanese people worsened.