Exploring Alternatives to the Governor of the Banque du Liban in Lebanon

Lebanese Finance Minister Youssef Khalil said replacing Banque du Liban governor Riad Salameh, who held the position for three decades, will be difficult and his term could be extended, although no agreement has yet been reached on this. consent.

Salame said this month he will not seek a new term. His current six-year term ends in July. European and Lebanese prosecutors are investigating Salameh for allegedly embezzling hundreds of millions of dollars from public funds, a charge he denies.

“There is no consensus yet,” Khalil told Reuters when asked if discussions about a possible successor had begun, noting that the current political climate in Lebanon has made it particularly difficult to bring about such a major change.

He added, on the sidelines of the World Government Summit in Dubai a few days ago, that there is a plan to extend the terms of all first-level public service employees, not just security, but there is still no word on this consent.

Khalil also said the IMF deal remains a priority, even if it is not supported by some. He acknowledged that the accord did not enjoy the support of all Lebanese, but stressed the importance of building confidence and putting Lebanon on the road to recovery.

Beirut signed a draft agreement with the International Monetary Fund in April, but the slow implementation of the reforms required by the Fund cushioned the impact of the three-year economic collapse that plunged the vast majority of the country into poverty. population.

Interim Prime Minister Najib Mikati said in November that Lebanon could still complete a $3 billion bailout deal despite a lack of a fully empowered president or parliament.

On February 1, the government cut the official local currency exchange rate by 90 per cent to £15,000 per US dollar for the first time in nearly three decades.

At the time, the value of the lira on the parallel market was just under 60,000 against the dollar. Since then, it has plunged rapidly to an all-time low of 80,000 against the dollar, prompting protests, bank branch fires and road closures on Thursday.

Khalil said he faced what he described as serious resistance when he tried to officially devalue the local currency months ago, but the government still has in plans to unify the exchange rate and move to collect taxes and fees at a rate closer to the parallel market.

He added that parliament still intends to pass the capital controls bill after years of delay as a way to protect banks from cause legal entities, which he described as vast, and to keep foreign currency in the country.

Khalil stressed that the level of trust in the Lebanese banking system is very low and added that he believes the way to build tale trust lies in the agreement with the IMF.