Deputy Parliament Speaker Elias Bou Saab announced on Tuesday that the parliament has suspended the long ongoing discussions of the capital control law. The discussions are paused until the cabinet reaches an agreement on a complete reform plan.
Bou Saab noted that the Parliament will be awaiting reform laws from the government, saying: “Today’s session was fruitful, and we are working to reach results. The ball is now in the government’s court to provide what it has so we can get back to work.”
The reform laws in question include a bank restructuring law.
The purpose of the capital control draft law is to legalize and standardize the banking restrictions that were imposed by the banks at the beginning of the Lebanese economic crisis in 2019.
It’s one of the prerequisites for a preliminary agreement reached with the IMF earlier this year, planning to release billions of dollars in financial assistance to Lebanon.
Bou Saab said he was “on the depositors’ side, not the banks’ side,” adding “but in the report, I cannot add my point of view but rather the experts’ observations.”
Bou Saab explained that “there were objections from different members of Parliament” on whether to oblige to have the central bank’s governor Riad Salameh present at the session in person. Bou Saab described the objections as shameful.
Some deputies demanded the bank’s governor be present to which Bou Saab replied: “We will see how it goes.”
To that, Gebran Bassil (FPM) added: “You could not bring him to the judiciary, and you want to bring him to the parliament!”
Earlier this year, the Lebanese Cabinet approved the long-awaited capital control law, yet it never got its final approval from the parliament.
As the meeting took place on Tuesday, protesters gathered in front of the Parliament and in front of several banks in Beirut, to protest the proposed law.
Related: Depositors And Unions In Lebanon Are Protesting Against Lopsided Capital Control Law Draft.