After three days of meeting with senior and financial officials in Lebanon, a delegation from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has concluded on February 23rd that the key to rescuing Lebanon from the economic crisis is reforms.
The National News Agency reported that the meetings involved “a lengthy and detailed discussion of the financial and economic situations.”
The delegation said to the media that they have “stressed that the starting point for the solutions should be reforms topped by the electricity file.”
They also recommended that the Lebanese currency be pegged to the dollar at a rate that ends the discrepancy between the official rate and the actual market value.
“There is an inclination to agree on a rate ranging between LBP 1,750 and 2,000, seeing as that would relieve the people, specifically depositors,” they said.
Speaker of Parliament Nabih Berri had previously assured the IMF that Lebanon is “keen on being committed to the required drastic reforms on all levels to guarantee the success of the reform process and regain confidence in Lebanon.”
The news of this recommendation should come as no surprise to anyone who has been following the situation in Lebanon for some time.
It is important to remember that there is little hope for the Lebanese currency to return to what it was not-so-long-ago.
Even Finance Minister Ghazi Wazni, shortly after he was appointed during the formation of the new government on 21 January, announced that the Lebanese currency is impossible to recover.
However, not everyone is necessarily on board with the IMF’s recommendation that the currency should be pegged to 1750LL or 2000LL per dollar.
Some commenters on Naharnet’s page have even gone as far as to recommend that the Central Bank abolish the Lebanese and just adopt the dollar as the national currency.
“Since all the prices are quoted in USD, why doesn’t BDL just take the necessary steps to completely make the USD the official currency and withdraw all Lebanese pounds from circulation? Ask Ecuador. They did it,” one commenter said.