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Hariri Contains Fuel Crisis in Lebanon

Hariri Contains Fuel Crisis in Lebanon

Saturday, 12 October, 2019 - 06:45
Fuel stations on strike in Lebanon. (NNA)

Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri succeeded in containing a fuel crisis that erupted in the country on Friday after fuel station operators decided to immediately stop the sale of fuel to consumers.

“Starting tomorrow morning fuel will be delivered to the stations, which in turn will deliver and sell it normally,” Information Minister Jamal Jarrah announced after Hariri and some ministers met on Friday with a delegation of the Association of Petroleum Importing Companies in Lebanon, headed by Georges Fayyad.

The two sides agreed on a specific mechanism to quickly resolve this crisis.

Earlier on Friday, the Syndicate of Fuel Station Owners and Distributors had said they would not deliver fuel to consumers before a written decision is issued by the official authorities to sell fuel to the stations in Lebanese pounds.

Gas Station Owners say that banks were not supplying them with the dollars needed to pay importers and suppliers because of a shortage in reserves.

Jarrah announced that on behalf of the owners of the petroleum companies, the stations will receive fuel starting Saturday and that there is no fear of any fuel shortage.

For his part, Fayyad said: “Starting tomorrow morning, companies will deliver fuel, diesel and gas in Lebanese pounds, just as we did last week. Things were resolved today, and we can now import and open credit lines to supply fuel to the country.”

He said the government would provide petroleum companies the payment in dollars at the official rate, to allow them to sell in Lebanese pounds.

In recent weeks, petrol station owners who pay importers and suppliers in dollars complained that they had to resort to much higher rates than money exchangers because banks were not meeting their demand.

Exchange rates on the black market reached 1,600 Lebanese pounds earlier this month and it has become almost impossible to withdraw dollars from ATMs or to convert large sums in banks.

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