BEIRUT — A staff-level agreement between the Lebanese government and the International Monetary Fund has been announced in a statement by the fund, meaning that staff members from the IMF and the Lebanese negotiating team have reached a deal on an economic program.
Here’s what we know:
• A statement from the IMF said that its program in Lebanon could be supported by a 46-month extended fund arrangement with a requested access of $3 billion.
• Lebanese authorities agreed to undertake "several critical reforms" before the IMF board meeting, the statement said.
• The agreement will have to be approved by the IMF’s management and executive board.
• A meeting was held this afternoon at the Presidential Palace in the presence of President Michel Aoun, Prime Minister Najib Mikati, Deputy Prime Minister Saade Chami, Finance Minister Yousef Khalil, Economy Minister Amin Salam and a delegation from the IMF.
• “We announce that we are fully committed to coordinating with the IMF in order to pull Lebanon out of its recession and put it on the path of recovery,” Mikati said in a statement following the meeting. “Reforms are in the interest of Lebanon, and we need them to be fully implemented,” he added.
• Sources confirmed to L'Orient Today that the government has gamed out multiple scenarios for dealing with the distribution of losses with the fund. These alternatives will be reviewed by the IMF’s management before one is approved.
• The capital control draft law was signed today by President Michel Aoun after it was approved by cabinet one week ago. Next, it will be sent to Parliament to be voted on.
• MP Ibrahim Kanaan, chair of the Finance and Budget Committee, alongside MP Yassine Jaber, a member of the committee, met with the IMF delegation on the back of another committee session dedicated to reviewing the 2022 budget.
• Kanaan stated that they discussed with the IMF delegation the issue of the 2022 budget, the capital control law, the restructuring of the banking sector and the lifting of the banking secrecy law. Kanaan stressed that any agreement with the IMF should first and foremost preserve the rights of the depositors.
• Kanaan stated that the Finance and Budget Committee is midway through the 2022 budget, and the frequency at which the meetings are being scheduled and the pace of discussions inside the committee make him confident that the committee will finalize the budget before the elections.
• Kanaan also reiterated that the lack of transparency around the exchange rates used in the preparation of the budget, forced the committee to suspend the discussion around related articles. He said that a special session will be held to resolve the issue.
Additional reporting by Wael Taleb