Lebanon Daily News Brief 9/28/2021

Tuesday, September 28, 2021


PM Miqati to Meet With Lazard Over Financial Recovery Plan
Prime Minister Najib Miqati is explected to meet with the advisory firm Lazard to discuss a financial recovery plan the firm drafted for Lebanon. Miqati said he wants to see how it could be developed into a “more realistic” version. Lazard drafted a plan for the previous government as well, but the plan was shot down by banks concerned that they would be made to cover the bill for the financial collapse. The central bank and political elites also opposed the recovery plan. The IMF endorsed the previous plan and reaching a deal with the IMF includes the government coming to an agreement on the losses. [Reuters]

UN Security Council Calls on Lebanon to Make Reforms and Commit to a Policy of Dissociation
Yesterday the UN Security Council called on Lebanon to commit to a policy of dissociation from external conflicts. The statement was a reference to Hezbollah’s interventions in wars across the region including Syria. The Security Council also called on the new Lebanese government to implement reforms and for a “swift, independent, impartial, thorough, and transparent investigation” into the Beirut Port explosion. [Al Arabiya]

Lebanese Man Dies From Beirut Port Injuries
Yesterday a Lebanese man who was injured by last year’s Beirut Port explosion died from his injuries. Ibrahim Harb was at his downtown office when the ammonium nitrate exploded and put Harb into a coma for the next three months. He then stayed in a rehabilitation center until three days ago when the family decided to bring him home. [AP]


Middle East Institute
Power Sector Reforms Are New Lebanese Government’s Ultimate Test
Ali Ahmad, Mounir Mahmalat, Paul Noumba Um, Jamal Saghir

The authors write, “At the center of Lebanon’s economic woes, the energy sector alone has contributed to about 40% of the country’s public debt since 1992. Despite such high levels of spending, Lebanon’s electricity supply ranks among the worst worldwide, with near complete blackouts plaguing citizens during the summer heat of July and August. Simply put, Lebanon cannot afford to waste another opportunity to reform its electricity sector. A structural reform of the sector is of immediate priority to achieve economic recovery. Blocked for decades by political paralysis within an elite-level arrangement incapable of delivering reforms, Lebanon’s present-day crises offer a window of opportunity to finally deliver change. These crises can produce a new political settlement in which electricity sector reforms must be a major component. Chief among these reforms is the establishment and operationalization of an electricity regulatory authority (ERA), an independent institution tasked with, among other things, setting tariffs and supervising contracts with the private sector for electricity production and distribution.”

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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.