Outgoing finance minister Ghazi Wazni has indicated that Lebanon will have to suspend the importation of basic necessities at the end of May due to the exhaustion of funds available to finance it.
He also estimated that the delay to restructure the current subsidy plan would cost $ 500 million per month. This would involve reducing the number of subsidized products from 300 to 100, reducing subsidies for the purchase of fuel and drugs and establishing a ration card for 800,000 families. It will then be a question of halving the current subsidies which would drop from 6 to 3 billion dollars in annual costs.
The establishment of a prepaid card program would, however, be subject to parliamentary approval.
As a reminder, the cost of the subsidy program was 700 million dollars during the period preceding the current crisis. It has fallen to $ 500 million currently, or $ 6 billion per year, of which $ 3 billion is for fuels alone. Questions also relate to the reality of the 16 billion dollars of gross reserves of the Bank of Lebanon mainly constituted by the sums available by the 15% of minimum reserves on bank deposits.
Banque du Liban Governor Riad Salamé reportedly informed the outgoing government this week that he would only have $ 1.5 billion available for this program, made up of $ 1 billion in cash and the equivalent of $ 650 million in Eurobonds. and were previously valued at $ 5.5 billion.