BEIRUT — The joint parliamentary committees on Tuesday approved a bill permitting Banque Du Liban (BDL) to issue Lebanese Lira notes worth more than LL100,000, the state-run National News Agency reported. If the bill is passed in parliament, notes worth LL500,000 and LL1,000,000 liras will be printed.
Proposal to increase VAT by three points
After four years of economic crisis, the national currency has lost more than 98 percent of its value and the exchange rate on the parallel market is currently around LL94,000 to the dollar, over 62 times the pre crisis rate of LL1,507.5.
The proposed law will merely serves to solve the practical problem of carrying mass bundles of lira. It will have absolutely no impact on the value of the currency itself. The rate of the lira was officially reset on February 1st at LL15,000 to the dollar.
Other issues on the committee's agenda included the examination of a proposal to reduce the prison year from 9 to 6 months, for which a sub-committee will finally be formed. Another proposal, suggesting plans to increase VAT by 3 percentage points (the proceeds of which would be "given to the poorest citizens"), was presented by Tripoli MP Faysal Karameh. Due to lack of quorum, the proposed bill will be reconsidered at the next meeting of the joint committees.
Speaking about the recent judicial setbacks of BDL Governor Riad Salameh, Bou Saab said the committees believed the current situation was "not healthy." Salameh's term of office is set to end in two months and Bou Saab expressed hopes that the BDL governor would take the "appropriate decision" and resign. Salameh, who is the subject of several local and European investigations, has repeatedly denied the accusations issued against him. All the same, Interpol issued a red notice for the BDL governor's arrest following an international arrest warrant issued by French justice.