Lebanon Daily News Brief 1/27/2022
Deputy UNSCOL: Fuel Provided to Health Centers, Water Stations from UN to End in Two Months
Deputy UN Special Coordinator for Lebanon and Resident Humanitarian Coordinator Najat Rochdi, at a site visit, clarified that UN-provided fuel to supply generators of health centers and water stations will wind down by March, and that the UN cannot take the place of the state in the absence of sustainable solutions for the long-term. [L’Orient Today]
Maritime Border Talks to Resume Next Week
Negotiations between the Lebanon, UN, and Israel, with the US as a mediator, concerning the demarcation of the maritime border will continue next week. According to Naharnet, President Michel Aoun told UN Special Coordinator for Lebanon Joanna Wronecka in a meeting that Lebanon is, “ready to resume the negotiations for the demarcation of the southern maritime border in a manner that preserves the Lebanese state’s rights and sovereignty.” [Naharnet]
Ministry of Finance: 2022 Budget For ‘Emergency,’ To Include ‘Realistic Exchange Rate’
Minister of Finance Youssef Khalil described the 2022 budget as an ’emergency budget’, as the Cabinet reconvenes this week and continues to discuss the draft budget. [Reuters] According to a document published by the Finance Ministry, Lebanon intends to adopt a ‘realistic exchange rate’ between the Lebanese Lira and the US Dollar in the 2022 Budget, though the value of the exchange was not specified. [Reuters]
OPINION & ANALYSIS
Are We Facing The Fading Future Of The Future Movement?
AbiNader writes, “in May 2021, the World Bank noted that Lebanon has an outdated and fragmented procurement system and especially lacks the adequate technology to monitor procurement, exposing the public sector to high risks of corruption. While some of the issues were addressed in the two laws, they both lack enforcement mechanisms. In fact, a World Bank study indicated that Lebanon did not at all meet even 57% of the 210 specific criteria used in the assessment and partially met only another 34%. And, as reported by the Byblos Bank Economic Research Department, ‘it found major shortcomings in the system’s regulatory, institution and operational frameworks, and considered that there is considerable room for improving the accountability, integrity, and transparency criteria.’ What does the Future Movement and Saad Hariri’s resignation have to do with all of this? Consider the sectarian divisions of Lebanon’s government, which rules by coalition as is the case in most parliamentary systems. The absence of members affiliated with the Future Movement leaves Hezbollah and its allies with fewer obstacles to imposing their will on parliament. On the flip side, if in the coming election Future holds its seats as part of an opposition coalition, even the slightest shift of 10-15 seats would dull the edge that Hezbollah, the Amal Movement, and their allies have to block vital reform initiatives.
Lebanon Teachers Strike Over Conditions As Education Crisis Grows
Chehayeb writes, “On January 10, the country’s public school teachers launched an open-ended strike. Most of Lebanon’s public schools have closed and refuse to open, as teachers demand higher wages and stipends to earn a living wage. Lebanon’s public sector workers’ wages have not been adjusted to reflect the pound’s nose-diving devaluation of more than 90 percent and the country’s soaring inflation rate. In the two years since the country’s economic crisis began, three-quarters of the population has slipped into poverty, making the cost of electricity, water, and food big burdens as millions of families are forced to work with shrinking budgets.
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.