BEIRUT — Members of Parliament’s Finance and Budget Committee and Administration and Law Committee rejected the latest version of the capital control law in a joint meeting Monday morning. The law will no longer appear on the agenda of a parliamentary session scheduled to take place Tuesday at UNESCO Palace.
Here’s what we know:
• On Friday, a leaked version of the capital control law was circulated on social media; however, the document was distributed today to the members of the joint committee.
• MP Farid Boustany, (FPM bloc/Chouf), chair of the Economy Committee — which was not involved in Monday’s meeting — gave a press conference even before the joint committee meeting started, in which he sharply criticized the document and called it a conspiracy against the depositors.
• MP Michel Daher (FPM/Zahle) announced, as he left Monday’s session early, that the country is already bankrupt. He said the central bank has $8 billion or 7 percent of the $110 billion left of the existing deposits. He added it is not the job of the Parliament to prepare a capital control law, and that if the government is unable to work on a capital control law or an economic recovery plan, then MPs should vote no confidence.
• MP Ibrahim Kanaan (FPM/Metn) and MP Georges Adwan (LF/Chouf), the respective chairs of the Finance and Budget Committee and the Administration and Justice Committee, said there was first a problem with the form, or the way the draft was parachuted today to the joint committee members and contrary to proper procedures. Second, they said, there was a problem with the content, which is a drastic departure from the version of the law that the joint committee finalized in July 2021.
• Kanaan added that the special committee, designated in the document and composed of the finance and economy ministers, the central bank governor, and chaired by the prime minister, will monopolize the role of the Parliament and the judiciary, and will have complete discretion over the financial affairs of the country.
• Adwan said this is the second time the joint committee has shot down an attempt by the government to pass a capital control law that legalizes the takeover of depositors’ money, referring to the capital control discussions in December over a version backed at that time by MP Nicholas Nahas (Azm Movement bloc/Tripoli), and seen as overly sympathetic to the banking sector.
• Adwan added that the capital control law should be part of an economic and financial recovery plan. However, the government keeps telling the MPs that it is working on a secret plan for the economic recovery. “How can the same people responsible for the current situation be the same people working on a secret plan?” he asked.
• MP Ali Fayyad (Hezbollah/Marjayoun-Hasbaya) said any capital control law should first reiterate the depositors’ rights and without this clause, there is no need to discuss any version. He added that the present version of the capital control law, if passed, would render opening new bank accounts and purchasing foreign currencies illegal for Lebanese, except for some specific cases.
• On Monday afternoon, the Amal Movement issued a press release following its weekly meeting in which it rejected the last version of the capital control law and demanded that any future discussion around the law should prioritize depositors' rights.
BEIRUT — Members of Parliament’s Finance and Budget Committee and Administration and Law Committee rejected the latest version of the capital control law in a joint meeting Monday morning. The law will no longer appear on the agenda of a parliamentary session scheduled to take place Tuesday at UNESCO Palace.Here’s what we know: • On Friday, a leaked version of the capital...