Lebanon needs the help of the International Monetary Fund to draft a rescue plan and decide whether to repay its $1.2bn Eurobond maturing next month, according to one of the country’s oldest serving politicians and a member of the ruling coalition.
As the country faces its worst financial crisis in decades after months of protests, Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri said Lebanon should form a task force comprising the premier, ministers of economy and finance as well as legal and financial experts, Annahar newspaper reported.
The committee would begin work in parallel to making a request to the IMF.
”We need to send a message to the world, perhaps to the Americans in particular — given that they’re the most influential and active factor in the International Monetary Fund — stipulating that Lebanon needs the fund’s technical help for a rescue plan,” the newspaper cited the speaker as saying.
Berri made it clear, though, that Lebanon wouldn’t seek an IMF package as happened in Argentina in 2018 because the Lebanese public couldn’t accept the conditions that the fund would likely impose. Politicians have said that a rescue package from the lender would require Lebanon to float its pegged currency and raise taxes.
Former Prime Minister Saad Hariri – in his capacity as caretaker head of government – asked both the World Bank and the IMF for help in drafting a plan to address the country’s economic and financial crisis.
The speaker’s comments were published as protesters gathered around parliament in downtown Beirut to prevent a vote of confidence in the new government. The demonstrators are aiming to uproot the ruling class and end corruption.