The Lebanese pound sank to a historic low against the dollar on the parallel market Tuesday, the latest somber milestone in an economic meltdown that started in 2019.
Officially pegged at 15,000 to the dollar, the Lebanese pound was trading at 100,000 against the greenback.
Meanwhile, Lebanon’s Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri accused banks of smuggling money abroad, something he said contributed to exacerbating the crisis at home.
In Lebanon, the depreciation of the national currency was followed with the hiking of prices of basic commodities such as fuel and bread.
The price increases had also followed Lebanese banks’ decision to return to strike in protest against the judicial prosecutions they are facing.
For his part, Berri believed that finding a political solution is vital for recovering from crises ailing the country.
The Speaker stressed that the brunt of the financial crisis must be borne by the Lebanese state, Banque du Liban and banks, not depositors.
Berri also emphasized that it is logical for the parliament and government to convene whenever necessary, despite the presidential vacuum.
Berri reiterated his support for former MP Suleiman Franjieh becoming president as he is a candidate that would unite the country.
Berri reminded that Franjieh had also been a candidate “when the term of president Emile Lahoud was extended.”
“Wasn’t he nominated by (then-US) Ambassador David Hale? Wasn’t he a candidate when General Michel Aoun was nominated?” Berri added.
“We want a president who would be able to tackle the defense strategy and who believes in the Taif Accord, and based on all of this we have nominated Franjieh,” Berri added.
Noting that “there can be no salvation for Lebanon without a civil state,” Berri lashed out at “the voices calling for partitioning and federalism under the veiled slogans of broad administrative and financial decentralization.”
“Lebanon is like an atom: if partitioned it would blow up,” Berri warned.