The warning that some of Lebanon’s biggest hospitals made on Friday was undoubtedly a powerful move against the authority. Perhaps what shows its effect is the fact that the central bank has since responded with a seemingly reconciliatory statement.
In the statement, the Banque du Liban (BDL) addressed Circular 573, which the hospitals cited in their announcement that they planned to stop providing their medical services, and which forces hospitals to pay the bills of medical supplies in cash.
The BDL clarified that the banknotes that hospitals are supposed to use for these transactions are available, and “the concerned banks will secure them for hospitals to pay for the required medical supplies.”
It also clarified that measures, such as Circular 573, are mainly aimed at “curbing movement and controlling the exchange rates of the dollar against the Lebanese pound on the black market.”
Additionally, the central bank said that it seeks to “preserve the purchasing power of all the Lebanese and hopes that everyone will cooperate with it, including the medical sector, instead of [making irresponsible escalations].”
The statement noted that the BDL’s intervention has become, due to the cash economy, an indirect one.
“All needs are secured, and there is no need for any hesitation to provide all the medical services that the Lebanese need,” the statement affirmed, adding that this decision was made in coordination with the Association of Banks in Lebanon.