As the Economy Ministry’s subsidized “food basket” grows closer to being implemented, the central bank (BDL) announced the exchange rate that will apply to the basket’s items.
In a statement, BDL revealed that it will secure “the necessary amounts in foreign currencies to meet the needs of importers and manufacturers of basic foodstuffs and raw materials included in the food industries.”
This will result in a fixed exchanged rate of 3,900 LBP/USD for the items included in the list that will soon be revealed by the Economy Ministry.
Once the food basket goes into effect, applicable importers and manufacturers will be required to submit applications to their banks, where they will then pay the values of the items in Lebanese pounds, the statement explained.
Then, each bank will transfer the money to BDL, and the latter will “transfer their value in dollars to the bank account in question at the correspondent bank accredited to it.”
On that note, the central bank said that all import requests previously submitted and approved prior to this date, based on the intermediate Circular No.557 dated May 27, 2020, “remain on the basis of a fixed exchange rate of 3,200 LBP per dollar.”
According to LBCI, the food basket, which is expected to be ready by Wednesday, will cover around 200 basic items (up from the current 30) that include certain kinds of meat, fish, canned food, and many other food commodities.
It will reportedly also cover some non-food items, such as coffee creamers, toothpaste, batteries, bug repellants, razor blades, in addition to essential medicines and nutrients for raising chickens.
This plan is expected to satisfy nearly 80% of the citizen’s basic food and consumer needs at manageable prices compared to those which rely on the high black-market LBP/USD exchange rate.