BEIRUT — Caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati distributed a draft law to the cabinet on Monday that would allow "the government to borrow foreign currency from the central bank."
The bill was requested by Wassim Mansouri, Banque du Liban's (BDL) first deputy governor who is set to become BDL's acting governor on Tuesday.
"I have distributed to the ministers the draft law enabling the government to borrow foreign currency from the Banque du Liban to finance civil servants' salaries," Mikati told L'Orient-Le Jour. "We will discuss it later and send it to Parliament, which should take the appropriate decision."
At a press conference earlier in the day, Mansouri declared that "a law must be passed by Parliament to enable BDL to finance the state from compulsory reserves."
"By law, in the event of a vacancy in the central bank governorship, a new governor must be appointed," said Mikati in a statement issued by the Grand Serail after the cabinet meeting. "When the appointment failed, I held lengthy discussions with the deputy governors, particularly the first."
Seventeen ministers took part in Monday's cabinet meeting, including Mikati. Ministers from the Free Patriotic Movement (FPM) including Henri Khoury, Abdallah Bou Habib and Walid Fayad boycotted the meeting.
The FPM believes that the Prime Minister is arrogating to himself the prerogatives of the president, while Lebanon has been without a head of state for nine months.
Following the meeting, caretaker Information Minister Ziad Makari announced that two additional cabinet meetings will be held this week — on Tuesday and Thursday — to "continue discussions on the budget."
"Mr. Mansouri has presented his vision of things and requested the cooperation of the government, which is in favor," Makari also said, adding that an additional cabinet meeting would be held "to adopt a serious and detailed plan."