Chairman of the Finance and Budget Committee at the Lebanese parliament MP Ibrahim Kanaan called for holding constructive dialogue with the international community to reach an agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) that takes into consideration the economic situation in Lebanon.
He slammed the fees included in the country’s 2022 state budget, which the parliament will resume discussing on Monday.
Kanaan made the remarks after an IMF delegation concluded their visit to Lebanon.
“Despite the urgency for action to address Lebanon’s deep economic and social crisis, progress in implementing the reforms agreed under the April staff-level agreement remains very slow,” the IMF said in a statement on Wednesday.
The statement also said the country's financial recovery plan should respect the internationally recognized hierarchy of claims, in which the state and depositors receive more protection than the private sector.
“Small depositors must be fully protected and the recourse to public resources—assets belonging to all Lebanese citizens, with or without a bank account —should be limited,” the statement stressed.
Following a meeting with EU ambassadors at the parliament’s headquarters, Kanaan stressed that constructive cooperation is necessary if there really is a will to save Lebanon and implement a recovery plan.
He considered that “the ambiguity is not in the legislation, but in the executive branch and the content of its negotiations with the IMF” and asked about the fate of the depositors’ money.
Kanaan further slammed the 2022 budget prepared by the government and referred to the parliament.
“How do we accept, for example, that the budget tax be based on the exchange rate while we are paying citizens wages at the rate of 1,500 pounds per dollar?” Kanaan wondered.
He also pointed out that the cost of Syrian displacement is more than $30 billion and asked about the solution for this problem. The international community is responsible for returning the Syrians to their country and providing them with the financial aid there, according to Kanaan.
The major parliamentary committees had held the government responsible for the delay in reaching an agreement with the IMF.
They accused the government of failing to present a detailed, comprehensive, economic, financial and monetary recovery plan that clarifies the general path.
MP George Adwan, who chairs the parliamentary committee on Administration and Justice, reiterated in a press statement on Wednesday that the parliament and his committee are fully prepared to deal positively with all the necessary laws hoping for an quick agreement with the IMF to facilitate matters.