The Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Kristalina Georgieva, stated that the IMF will only support a “comprehensive program” for Lebanon that focuses on all the “country’s ills” and the country’s corruption.
“Our team is working very closely with their Lebanese counterparts… We are stressing that it has to be a comprehensive program,” she said.
The Lebanese authorities re-started talks with the IMF in January for funds and financial support that could ease the worsening economic crisis in Lebanon.
Pointing to the fact that Lebanon’s situation is “very, very dire,” Georgieva commented that “it has been so for a long time,” and that “short of a strong government commitment to change the course of the country, the suffering of the Lebanese people would continue.”
She shared that the IMF team is negotiating over a budget plan that would target the Lebanese banking sector along with “reforms that the country needs, including more transparency for what the government does.”
Lebanon defaulted on its debt in 2020, a first in its history. Since then the Lebanese currency has lost about 82% percent of its value on the black market, according to a recent ESCWA report, and the majority of the Lebanese population now live below the poverty line.
According to the United Nations, the situation is made worse by the hyperinflation affecting the country while the World Bank accused the ruling politicians of having “deliberately” caused the country’s depression and standing in “great denial” as the economic situation deteriorates dramatically.
“Lebanon’s deliberate depression is orchestrated by the country’s elite that has long captured the state and lived off its economic rents,” WHO issued in a press release last week.
The “country’s elite” holding Lebanon’s fate in their hands have been more of passive watchers than actors in front of the severe deterioration and the suffering of the population.
The urgency of the dramatic situation and need for funds hasn’t seemed to have hit them as of yet. Their back and forth “talks” with the IMF have been endless, with long periods of nothingness, as they persist in blocking the necessary reforms that the IMF and other foreign lenders are requesting in exchange for the targeted aid.