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Lebanese Flag (File Photo)

The Lebanese Economy Minister, Amin Salam, said on Monday that his country is counting on the support of the international community; Because without him, the task will be more difficult for the new government.

A peace statement he made to The Eastern Herald on the sidelines of a parliamentary session discussing the ministerial statement, in preparation for a vote of confidence in a government headed by Najib Mikati, which was formed on September 10, after 13 months of stumbling; due to political differences.

He added that his priority after the government gained confidence is to expedite the launch of the “financing card”, monitor the prices of commodities, and work to reduce them to ease the living burdens of citizens.

At the beginning of this month, the previous government announced the launch of the “financing card” project, which provides for monthly financial assistance to poor Lebanese families, but its implementation has not yet begun.

This card aims to help families in light of the collapse of their livelihood in the wake of a severe economic crisis that has hit the country since late 2019, which led to a financial collapse and the loss of purchasing power for most citizens, in return for a crazy rise in the prices of commodities, especially food.

According to a study prepared by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA), earlier this month, 74 percent of the population of Lebanon suffers from poverty.

Salam expressed his hope that commodity prices will begin to decline this week with the recovery of the Lebanese pound since the announcement of the formation of the government, as the exchange rate of the US dollar in the parallel (unofficial) market fell from about 19,000 to about 15,000.

He stated that within a week, an official committee would be formed to handle the file of “negotiating with the International Monetary Fund”, “in accordance with a legal framework.”

He added, “The general framework for the government’s work is linked to negotiations with the International Monetary Fund, and the restoration of work in the banking system and its structure, among others.”

Through these negotiations, Lebanon hopes to agree with the Fund on a plan for economic advancement accompanied by administrative and financial reforms that would secure it with borrowing funds for economic support at low-interest rates.

And Salam added: “We count on a positive role for the international community and more openness to Lebanon to secure international support because, without it, the task will be more difficult.”

He stated that there is a “positive atmosphere and continuous contacts in this regard”, hoping that “that positive will be reflected soon on the situation in Lebanon.”

Last July, the then Prime Minister, Hassan Diab, said that “Lebanon is suffering from a siege and its people are paying the price, as providing assistance from abroad is linked to the formation of a new government.”

Diab’s government resigned on August 10, 2020, 6 days after a catastrophic explosion in the port of the capital, Beirut, which killed 217 people and injured about 7,000 others, along with huge material losses estimated at $15 billion.

© The Eastern Herald