IMF, Lebanon reach $3bn funding deal

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has reached a staff-level agreement with Lebanon to provide the country with $3 billion in a 46-month financing programme.

The agreement is subject to approval by the IMF management, as well as the Lebanese government and parliament, before being finalised by the IMF’s executive board, according to a statement issued by the country’s Council of Ministers.

Lebanese authorities agreed to carry out several crucial reforms before the IMF board meeting, Xinhua news agency quoted the Council as saying.

The reforms include restructuring the financial sector to restore banks’ viability, restructuring external public debts, reforming state-owned enterprises, and strengthening anti-corruption systems.

Ernesto Ramirez Rigo, who led the IMF mission to Lebanon, said the financing programme, once approved, will “support the (Lebanese) authorities’ reform strategy to restore growth and financial sustainability”.

Lebanon has been mired in a full-blown financial crisis since late 2019, as its national currency has lost about 90 per cent of its value on the parallel market.

According to the UN, more than 74 per cent of the Lebanese population are living below the poverty line.

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