$246 Million World Bank Loan For Lebanon’s Poorest Will Be Handed Out In Fresh USD

TDS/Mohamad Azakir | @florient_zwein_photography

International donors are saying funds from the $246 million World Bank loan that will provide financial assistance to Lebanon’s poorest families should be distributed in fresh U.S. dollars rather than in Lebanese pounds.

In a letter to outgoing Finance Minister Ghazi Wazni, officials from the World Bank, European Union, and the United Nations issued that a verbal agreement was reached on February 22nd whereby both Wazni and Central Bank Governor Riad Salameh agreed that the funds would be disbursed in USD.

However, during Lebanon’s Parliamentary meeting in which the World Bank loan agreement was approved, it was reported that each supported family would receive 800,000 LBP/month (which is less than $50 in today’s parallel market rate).

Because of the unstable exchange rate and daily changing prices of goods, the donors want to ensure the best provision of humanitarian aid to tens of thousands of the neediest families in Lebanon.

“We believe that this disbursement arrangement can preserve value to both beneficiaries and donors,” said the donors in the letter to Wazni, adding their keenness to discuss it further with the competent Lebanese authorities, The Daily Star reported.

The local correspondent for the Thomson Reuters Foundation cited two sources saying the letter from the donors was sent as they are growing tired and “fed up” with seeing their money diverted to the grip of the Central Bank.

That being said, it’s reported that Lebanon has already tried to reallocate part of the funds meant for supporting the most vulnerable people in the country to finance the cleaning and removal of harmful products from the Beirut Port.