In order to discuss ways to “speed up” implementation of agreed reforms required for an International Monetary Fund (IMF) loan program amid deteriorating living conditions in the country, the IMF said on Thursday that a staff mission will visit Lebanon next week.
In a regular news briefing, IMF spokesperson Gerry Rice told, “We are looking to support Lebanon as strongly as we can. It’s a difficult situation… There’s been slow progress in implementing some of the critical actions that we think are required to move forward with a program.”
Although contingent on the enactment of a range of economic reforms, including addressing unrealized losses in Lebanon’s banking system, the IMF and Lebanon reached a staff-level agreement on a $3 billion loan program in April 2022.
Questions have been raised about whether Lebanon has the political will to meet key conditions for a program due to the slow progress, in addition to what the IMF views as “key deficiencies” in a proposed bank secrecy law.
After a new Lebanese government is formed, Rice said the meetings in Beirut starting on September 19 will “prepare the ground for a full mission.”
Rice added, “Delaying the implementation of these reforms only increases the costs to Lebanon and Lebanese people.”