The International Monetary Fund is committed to helping Lebanon implement reforms but the country needs a coherent fiscal framework and credible baking sector strategy, says chief Kristalina Georgieva.
Speaking at a video conference hosted by France on Wednesday, Georgieva said the IMF’s recent efforts to develop a comprehensive stabilisation and reform program had not “gone very far” given the lack of an empowered Lebanese government.
However she was encouraged by the global support being offered.
French President Emmanuel Macron told the conference a fund would be set up to channel aid directly to the Lebanese people but warned there would be no international bailout without a credible new government.
The IMF managing director welcomed a framework for reforms unveiled at the conference.
She said the Fund would do its part to help implement changes needed to restore solvency in public finances, repair the banking system and strengthen governance, transparency and accountability.
“Regrettably, despite our multiple engagements at technical level on variety of issues over the last four months, in the absence of an empowered government we have not gone very far in advancing the preparation of a comprehensive stabilisation and reform program,” she said.
“Importantly, a coherent fiscal framework that can restore debt sustainability is still lacking, as is a credible strategy to rehabilitate the banking system.”
Georgieva said the Fund looked forward to swift resolution of issues standing in the way of progress.
A massive blast in the Lebanese capital’s port killed more than 190 people on August 4.
Some 6000 people were injured and around 300,000 were made homeless by the explosion.
The economic situation there has deteriorated drastically since the beginning of the year, exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic and the explosion, pushing many into poverty.
A political crisis has rocked the country as well after the government resigned following the blast and head of state Saad Hariri has been unable to form a cabinet.