Lebanese authorities have announced that they have formed a new government delegation to continue negotiations with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) aimed at salvaging the country from an economic meltdown.
The government of Prime Minister Najib Mikati said in a statement that a four-member committee had been appointed to resume talks with the IMF.
The new team consists of Deputy Prime Minister Saade Chami, Finance Minister Youssef Khalil, Economy Minister Amin Salam, and Banque du Liban Governor Riad Salameh and they will be assisted by experts.
The eastern Mediterranean country is in the midst of one of the world’s worst economic crises, as per the review of the World Bank. The Lebanese currency has lost almost 90 percent of its value against the dollar on the black market since 2019, and people’s savings are trapped in banks.
According to the UN, inflation has soared, and 78 percent of all Lebanese now live under the poverty threshold.
Powercuts are common in the country, and basic goods, including petrol and medicine, have become scarce.
After evasion on its debt in March 2020, for the first time in history, Lebanon started talks with the IMF, but hit a brick wall amid bickering over who should bear the brunt of the losses. Lebanon hopes the talks with the IMF will help unlock billions of dollars in financial aid. However, the international community has demanded sweeping reforms and a forensic audit of the country’s central bank before any financial assistance is disbursed.