The central bank (Banque du Liban) will provide Lebanon’s commercial banks with U.S. dollars to satisfy the needs of importers of food, medicine, and essential commodities, the Lebanese economy minister has confirmed.
On Wednesday, the Ministry of Finance hosted the third meeting of the ministerial crisis cell tasked with following Lebanon’s financial issues.
The meeting involved the governor of the central bank, the director-general of General Security, the head of the Banking Control Commission of Lebanon, the vice-president of the Syndicate of Money Changers in Lebanon, and the ministers of finance, economy, information, and industry.
They also agreed to task Central Bank Governor Riad Salameh with injecting U.S. dollars into commercial banks, in accordance with specific regulations and conditions.
Minister of Economy Raoul Nehme explained to Al-Joumhouria that the procedure aims to propel the import of essential commodities, such as food, medical supplies, and other consumer items.
The “pumping” process for banks will be similar to that of money changers, and banks will be subject to the same conditions as the latter, according to the same dollar exchange rate adopted by the Syndicate of Money Changers.
As for the amount that the Banque du Liban will designate for banks, and whether it will be deducted from what remains of the $50 million currently being pumped into the market, the minister said the decision on this matter belongs to the central bank governor.
In what concerns his field, Nehme revealed that the Economy Ministry has so far signed around $50 million in import bills for food items included in the list of subsidized basic food items.
He indicated that some of the imported goods at the subsidized price have already arrived in Lebanon and are currently available in supermarkets while other batches are still being shipped.
The minister noted that some supermarkets are waiting for their old stock of certain products to be sold before they display the newly-imported, cheaper versions.
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