Lebanon banks criticize government for exclusion in IMF talks

Lebanese Prime Minister Hassan Diab and officials meet with a team of IMF experts at the government palace in Beirut. (Reuters)

Lebanon’s banking association said on Tuesday that government figures being presented to the International Monetary Fund in talks for a reform program do not form a “valid basis” for rescuing the economy.

Discrepancies between the government and the central bank on estimated financial sector losses have complicated the IMF talks, which began last month as the heavily indebted country looks to climb out of a deep economic crisis.

The banking association has strongly criticized Beirut’s rescue plan, which envisions using bank capital and deposits to cover tens of billions of dollars in losses, and has offered proposals of its own, which it says the government has ignored.

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A general view of demonstrators during an anti-government protest in downtown Beirut, Lebanon October 20, 2019. (Reuters)

A general view of demonstrators during an anti-government protest in downtown Beirut, Lebanon October 20, 2019. (Reuters)

“The association is surprised by the government’s insistence on excluding the banking sector from financial talks that are supposed to lead to decisions with certain and profound implications for Lebanon’s economic future,” it said in a statement.

“The figures presented by the government to the International Monetary Fund... do not constitute, from our perspective, a valid basis for financial rescue,” it added.

The association urged the government to open a broader dialogue on the plan amid fears that the reform program will entail painful haircuts on Lebanese deposits and taxes.

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Last Update: Wednesday, 10 June 2020 KSA 02:48 - GMT 23:48
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