BEIRUT — The Federation of Bakeries’ Syndicate said Thursday that a substantial number of mills are still not operating due to the delay of payments for imported wheat from Banque Du Liban and that “the amount of stored wheat at mills does not last more than 20 days.”
Here’s what we know:
• In a statement, the syndicate pointed to the lack of wheat in storage and the government’s inability to pay importers. They added that “the bread crisis is a result of the lack of wheat reserves and the importer’s inability to buy wheat because of the tardiness in wheat payments.” The union also noted mills could run out of wheat in less than a month.
• Ali Ibrahim, head of the syndicate told L’Orient Today that they have been demanding the Ministry of Economy and Trade grant them the table that apportions the amount of wheat for each mill in Lebanon for over a month and a half , but the request is still pending.
• In its last session before going into caretaker mode, the Lebanese government had allocated $12.5 million to pay for four wheat shipments and temporarily avert bread shortages. However, this decision has not been implemented thus far, according to the mills union’s statement.
• On May 6, the World Bank’s board of directors had approved an emergency loan of $150 million to finance wheat imports but the laws governing this deal are yet to be legislated by the newly elected parliament.