Lebanon Daily News Brief 04/20/2022
UNICEF: Maternal Deaths Triple, Children’s Health in Crisis
In a report released today, UNICEF reports that the number of women in Lebanon dying from pregnancy-related complications has increased amid the worsening economic crisis. Ettie Higgins, the UNICEF Lebanon representative said, “Repeatedly, anguished parents and families are unable to access basic health care for their children – as many dedicated health workers struggle to keep operations running during the crisis.” [Reuters]
Minister of Economy and Trade Optimistic On World Bank Assistance For Food Security
Relaying optimism, Minister of Economy and Trade Amin Salam indicated that talks with the IMF were progressing positively and that he expects that an agreement with the World Bank can be reached to address the recent, pressing food security concerns that have arisen as a result of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. In particular he said, “We are working with the World Bank to keep market stability for the next six months by getting $150 million.” [AP News]
Grand Mufti Calls For Preservation of People’s Deposits and Savings
Sunni Muslim Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdul Latif Deryan commented on the latest Parliamentary discussions of capitol control policy. In particular the Grand Mufti called for, “preserving people’s deposits and savings [ since ] the solutions for the financial and economic crisis should not be at the expense of depositors and their lifelong savings . . . “[The solutions] should be at the expense of those who plunged the country into the current deterioration at all levels.” [Naharnet]
OPINION & ANALYSIS
AbiNader writes, “For many in Lebanon, the announcement of the staff-level agreement with the IMF on April 7, prompted rather short-lived sighs of relief. That may be because certain actions are still required before any money flows at this level of agreement, and because the many challenges to its implementation have become clearer only days after the announcement on April 7. Sisyphus had it easy, one could say, in comparison to the anticipated obstructions that the agreement faces including the May 15th elections, as there are limits to what can get accomplished in the few weeks and three holidays between now and the opening of the polls. In particular, the formation of a new Council of Ministers within five months, the election of a president by the new government, and an agreement on a parliamentary agenda must all take place before any reforms can seriously happen.”
Banking Secrecy Law: A Deep Dive Into The New Bill
Phillipe Hage Boutros
Boutros writes, “The document’s content was confirmed to L’Orient-Le Jour by a source close to the prime minister. The source and document indicate without a shred of doubt that the bill had been sent to Parliament, which means it will not be debated any longer by the cabinet. If the causes of this cacophony have not yet been clarified, the amended bill, as it is supposed to have been sent to Parliament, was attached to the minutes, allowing us to get an idea of its content, scope and shortcomings. L’Orient-Le Jour took a deep dive into the bill with the help of the president of the Lebanese Association for Taxpayers’ Rights (ALDIC) and tax lawyer Karim Daher, who is, along with the former Justice Minister Marie-Claude Najm, one of the experts solicited by the IMF.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in these articles are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position of the American Task Force on Lebanon, a non-profit, nonpartisan leadership organization of Lebanese-Americans.