Left Menu
Development News Edition

Coronavirus, oil price may dash Lebanon's aid hopes-minister

Reuters | Updated: 17-03-2020 18:47 IST | Created: 17-03-2020 18:47 IST
Coronavirus, oil price may dash Lebanon's aid hopes-minister

The impact of the coronavirus and falling oil prices may have damaged Lebanon's chances of securing aid from foreign states, the economy minister said on Tuesday, adding that IMF aid should be considered as an option alongside others. Lebanon is suffering its worst financial crisis since independence in 1943.

It has been unable to pay foreign currency sovereign debt for the first time and its currency has lost some 40% of its value, while dollar reserves are critically low. Raoul Nehme told Reuters work to draw up economic rescue plans continued despite a shutdown to curb the spread of the new virus. Major aspects of the plan, including how the state will cut the deficit and boost revenues, will probably be ready in two to three weeks' time, he said by phone.

The full plan requires another two months or so, he added. Lebanon has requested technical assistance from the IMF but not financial aid that would typically come with conditions.

Some politicians have voiced concern the IMF would impose conditions Lebanon could not meet, but many analysts believe the IMF is Lebanon's only solution. States that have helped Beirut in the past have said they will not help this time unless long-delayed reforms take place.

Nehme said it was still too early to gauge the impact of the coronavirus. But he said aid from states to which Lebanon has been looking for support "can be less significant" if they suffer their own financial problems.

"We will certainly seek the support of our friends in the Arab world but their revenues are going down drastically with the price of oil going down under $30 practically so that puts limitations on their capacity to assist us," he added. Asked if the crisis would affect access to potential IMF financial aid, he said: "No that would not be affected."

"In my opinion depending on discussions with the IMF and so on, yes why not ... We cannot say we don't have this option, and we cannot say this is the only option. But it is certainly an option, it is a good one," he said. The powerful Hezbollah, which has previously said it was against allowing the IMF to manage the crisis in Lebanon, softened its position on Friday.

Its leader, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, said the group was not against foreign aid even it came from the IMF as long as the terms did not harm the national interest.


TRENDING

OPINION / BLOG / INTERVIEW

‘Discounted Deaths’ and COVID 19: Anthropology of Death and Emotions

Death is a social event rather than the mere cessation of biological functions. As seen by anthropologists, death is not just physical but intensely social, cultural, and political....

Indigenous knowledge of communities a must for maximizing impact of community work

Generally, it has been observed that the majority of the academicians in higher education institutions neglect the wisdom of community people and throw their weight around thinking that they know everything and the community knows nothing. ...

In rebuking FBR, Pakistan’s courts take a stand for public health

The system, if implemented effectively, will allow Pakistans revenue service to combat the illicit trade in tobacco products and potentially add hundreds of millions of dollars to the states budget each year. ...

Dissecting how COVID-19 is catalyzing the trajectory of New World Order

The ensuing pandemic of COVID-19 has hit the globalization in two ways firstly, shrinking the importance of globalization as an economic force by curtailing mobility through worldwide lockdowns, and secondly, rejuvenating the idea of indig...

Videos

Latest News

Missouri's only abortion clinic wins licensing battle against state health dept

Missouris only abortion clinic on Friday won its legal fight to stay open, as an independent arbiter found the states health department was unjustified in denying the clinics application to renew its license. The Midwestern states health of...

VP.Prodigy seal playoff spot in ESL One Birmingham EU/CIS

VP.Prodigy remained undefeated and clinched a playoff berth by sweeping Winstrike Team 2-0 on Friday in Group B action in the ESL One Birmingham Onlines Europe and Commonwealth of Independent States division. VP.Prodigy improved to 5-0 whil...

Brazil reaches 27,878 coronavirus deaths, surpasses Spain

Coronavirus deaths in Brazil reached 27,878, the Health Ministry said on Friday, surpassing Spain to become the fifth ranking nation in the number of dead.In the last 24 hours, Brazil, which now has the second-largest outbreak in the world,...

Woman sentenced for supporting Islamic State

A Florida woman was sentenced Friday to five years and 10 months in federal prison for attempting to send cellphones to the Middle East to be used as bomb detonators by the Islamic State terrorist group. Alison Marie Sheppard, 35, of Punta ...

Give Feedback