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The International Monetary Fund reportedly removed more than a dozen pages from a 2017 assessment of the Lebanese financial system’s stability following a request from Banque du Liban. The IMF’s “Financial System Stability Assessment” presented a “garbled picture” of Lebanon at a time when they “knew the country was heading for ruin,” the Swiss daily Le Temps reported yesterday, adding that BDL Gov. Riad Salameh “managed to remove” 14 pages from the report. According to Le Temps, the excised content reveals that the IMF knew most Lebanese banks would “not have the necessary liquidity in the event of a crisis” — foreshadowing the 2019 financial crisis — and that BDL was running at a net deficit of $4.7 billion. While neither the central bank nor the IMF denied the report, BDL told the Swiss publication that IMF reports are discussed not only with the central bank governor but also with the government, and the IMF said that the report “underlined the major vulnerabilities that threatened the Lebanese financial system at the time.”
Parliament’s joint committees yesterday put their support behind moving up the date of next year’s legislative elections. During a session to discuss amendments to the electoral law, the committees voted in favor of holding the polls on March 27 instead of May 8 — a move designed to avoid campaigning during Ramadan — but argued over the voting age, the diaspora’s participation in the polls and a quota for the number of women in Parliament. Notably, only the Strong Lebanon bloc, headed by Free Patriotic Movement leader Gebran Bassil, reportedly refrained from supporting early elections, while the Amal Movement and Hezbollah voiced opposition to the Lebanese diaspora’s participation in the polls. MP Inaya Ezzeddine (Amal/Sur) told L’Orient Today she walked out of the session over the committees’ reluctance to discuss a proposal to establish a quota of at least 26 women in Parliament. When the joint committees reach agreement on these issues, they will present the electoral law for Parliament’s approval.
Iran’s foreign minister claimed companies from his country are ready to build power plants in Lebanon. In a televised statement following a day of meetings with Lebanese officials, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said, “Iranian companies are ready to build two power plants in Lebanon in 18 months and supply the country with 1,000 megawatts [of electricity].” The suggestion is the latest move from the Islamic republic to aid Lebanon amid monthslong electricity and fuel crises. Since September, Iran has sent three shipments of fuel to Lebanon via Syria, with the most recent arriving at the port of Baniyas earlier this week.
Lebanon will hopefully receive electricity from Jordan by the end of the year, the Jordanian energy minister said yesterday. Speaking with Sky News Arabia, Hala Zawati also affirmed that “the companies which will be involved in the export of electricity to Lebanon will not violate the Caesar law,” referring to the American sanctions imposed on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s government and entities that deal with it. Since August, Lebanon, Jordan and Syria have been tailoring a plan to provide Lebanon with electricity from Jordan’s grid via connections in Syria as part of a US-led initiative that also includes bringing Egyptian gas to Lebanon via the Arab Gas Pipeline.
Generator owners have until Nov. 11 to pay to install energy consumption meters, a circular issued yesterday by Economy Minister Amin Salam said. Should subscribers install their own meter, the owner must deduct the device’s cost from their bill, the circular adds. The measure, which moves up a deadline set by Salam’s predecessor, aims to ensure that bills reflect consumption as residents rely more and more heavily on private electricity generators amid prolonged state power cuts. Speaking with L’Orient Today, the head of the generator owners syndicate, Abdo Saade, said securing diesel to keep the generators running is more pressing than installing meters. “We don’t even have enough [diesel] to run our generators till the end of the month, and the minister is now giving us this additional concern. ... We don’t even know if we will have active generators by the time of the deadline,” he said.
Want to get the Morning Brief by email? Click here to sign up.The International Monetary Fund reportedly removed more than a dozen pages from a 2017 assessment of the Lebanese financial system’s stability following a request from Banque du Liban. The IMF’s “Financial System Stability Assessment” presented a “garbled picture” of Lebanon at a time when they “knew the country was...