An independent UN envoy felt that Lebanese government officials have no sense of the need for urgent action or the necessary determination to assume their responsibilities in the face of an economic crisis that has led to a “ferocious impoverishment” of citizens.
Olivier de Schutter, UN Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights, said in an interview with Reuters Thursday at the conclusion of a two-week mission to study poverty. In Lebanon: “I am very surprised that this is a country on the via failure, if it has not already failed, and the needs of the population have not yet been met. “He continued:” They live in a fantastic world … and this does not bode well for the future of the country “.
Huge loss of wealth
He also added that “this is a huge loss of wealth … it is almost unprecedented”, noting that the losses in the Lebanese banking sector, estimated in the government’s plan for 2020 at around 83 billion dollars, are expected to be sustained. by banks, shareholders and large depositors, not ordinary citizens.
He also confirmed that he will recommend immediate implementation of social protection programs after being suspended for months, an increase in the minimum wage and a wealth tax to combat inequality, which is among the highest in the world. Its final report will be published in early 2022.
It is noteworthy that de Schutter met with a group of senior officials during his visit, including 9 ministers, the Prime Minister and the President of Parliament.
On the other hand, an official source in Prime Minister Najib Mikati’s office did not comment on de Schutter’s statements, but pointed out that Mikati had a fruitful meeting this week with another UN official, the Program Executive Director. World Food David Beasley.
One of the worst financial collapses
According to the United Nations, nearly three quarters of the former population of the class media of the country now suffers from poverty exacerbated by an economic crisis caused by decades of corruption and mismanagement.
Banks have also imposed unofficial limits on withdrawals, and the currency has lost more than 90% of its value since 2019. in what the World Bank has called an “intentional depression” and one of the worst financial collapses in the world since 1850.
Western countries have offered to help in change of reforms, but Lebanon was left without a stable government for 13 months in following Beirut explosion In August 2020, the new government formed in September did not meet for a month in in the midst of a political discussion.
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