BEIRUT — Caretaker Economy Minister Amin Salim said on Friday that “a very large portion of bread bundles are being loaded into cars in the Bekaa and the North and sold in Syria,” the state-run National News Agency reported.
Here’s what we know:
• In a speech following a meeting with Catholic Archbishop Ibrahim Mikhael Ibrahim and MP George Okais, Salam said that the ministry discovered, through security reports, that bread bundles are being smuggled into neighboring Syria to be sold “for 50 or 60 thousand Syrian lira.” The minister added that the border issue is “the responsibility of the army command and the Lebanese state with all its security services.”
• Salam also claimed in his speech that many bakeries that were complaining of a flour shortage were, in fact, “deliberately storing large quantities of it.”
• Lebanon has been experiencing bread shortages and long queues at bakeries for several weeks. Last week, Salam affirmed that the subsidies on wheat will be maintained.
• On May 6, the World Bank’s board of directors approved an emergency loan of $150 million for Lebanon to finance wheat imports, but the newly-elected Parliament has yet to ratify the agreement with the World Bank.