A new Lebanese government with a clear mandate is essential to implement badly needed economic reforms to pull the country out of financial crisis, the International Monetary Fund said on Thursday.
Foreign donors have said they will not bail out the state, which is drowning in debt, unless Lebanese politicians tackle graft and waste - the root causes of the collapse.
“It is critical that a new government be formed promptly with a strong mandate to implement the necessary reforms,” said IMF spokesman Gerry Rice in a scheduled press conference.
“The challenges facing Lebanon and the Lebanese people are exceptionally large, and that reform program is badly needed.”
Saad al-Hariri was designated prime minister in October but has since been at loggerheads with President Michel Aoun over the formation of a cabinet. A meeting last week to discuss a new cabinet ended in a public repudiation.
Rice added that there were currently no program discussions between the IMF and Beirut, only technical assistance with the Ministry of Finance and some state-owned enterprises.
He said further contacts are expected during the fund’s virtual Spring Meetings that kick off next week.
The outgoing cabinet has stayed on in a caretaker capacity since quitting in August on the back of the port explosion that killed 200 people and destroyed swathes of Beirut.