Lebanon Daily News Brief 9/8/2021

Wednesday, September 8, 2021


Lebanon Working on Funding From World Bank For Power Supply
Following a meeting with counterparts in Damascus, Lebanon’s caretaker Energy Minister Raymond Ghajar announced in a news conference that Lebanon is working to secure funding from the World Bank to finance fuel imports of Egyptian gas which will be transmitted through Jordan and Syria. The United States supports the plan. [Reuters] Jordan’s energy minister recently announced that the infrastructure to allow gas flow to Lebanon, which hasn’t been used in 10 years, will be finished in three weeks. [AP]

Ongoing Cabinet Negotiations
Cabinet negotiations are ongoing today and Prime Minister-designate Nijab Miqati and President Michel Aoun are reportedly close to an agreement. The talks are centered on the economy portfolio, the naming of two Christian ministers, and guaranteeing a vote of confidence from the Free Patriotic Movement, demanded by Miqati in return for granting the President the number of ministers asked for. [Naharnet] Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri however warned Miqati against giving in to Aoun’s demands and indicated that his party would not participate in the new government if he did. [Naharnet]

US Announces Almost $50 Million in Aid for LAF
Yesterday the White House announced in a statement that almost $50 million has been authorized to assist the Lebanese army. Commodities and services from US government inventory and resources will account for $25 million and another $22 million will be accounted for in defense articles and services from the Department of Defense. [Al Arabiya]


Time to Show Up for Work
Jean AbiNader

AbiNader writes, “With so much at stake, there are many good wishes for Miqati’s success, if the new cabinet is committed to implement change in the right directions. Perhaps two banners might be helpful in focusing the government’s efforts. I would suggest the first being “Time to Show up for Work,” indicating the resolve of the new government to move towards higher standards of accountability in its performance, beginning with electricity, telecommunications, and port reforms that will attract foreign investment into the country and support tourism. Ensuring that the municipal and parliamentary elections take place as scheduled will be a key marker of their commitment. Dealing with the inadequacies of the subsidy regime, by its elimination and replacement with a World Bank monitored cash card system, will pave the way to restore liquidity to the economy and create conditions for a currency board or other facility to reinvigorate the value of the Lebanese lira. None of these are simple, but the legislative and policy guidelines are already in place or accessible to move quickly if there is a will and a commitment to show up for work.”

Read more here

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.