Lebanon Needs Efficient Authorities to Implement Necessary Reforms The Residents Who Said No to the ‘Generator Mafia’ EDL to Issue New Tariffs in February 2023
Lebanon Needs Efficient Authorities to Implement Necessary Reforms Lebanese economic experts strongly believe the IMF deal is the only way to rescue Lebanon’s economy. If Lebanon meets all of the conditions outlined in the staff level agreement the government reached with the IMF negotiating team last April, they will receive $3 billion in assistance. However, the actions lawmakers have taken since then, namely passing a budget and banking secrecy law, have both fallen short of satisfying the IMF requirements. Nasser Saidi argues that the government should move its public sector assets into a national wealth fund. [Xinhuanet]
Without a new process that engages all vested interests (including IMF representatives, parliamentary blocs, and an executive team from government) the IMF deal is in grave danger of failing. The caretaker government can no longer expect to force an IMF deal on the parliamentarians. The process of moving ahead on reaching an IMF agreement will require strong communication, outreach with the Lebanese people, a trusted facilitator, and possibly international experts to answer questions. A trusted facilitator can help decision makers develop a credible roadmap that achieves buy-in from all stakeholders. And let us not kid ourselves, without an IMF deal it is likely that Lebanon will not be able to quickly pull itself from the abyss. An IMF deal will also speed up investor confidence and attract international and multilateral support for future development, economically, financially, and socially.
-ATFL President Edward M. Gabriel
The Residents Who Said No to the ‘Generator Mafia’ In many neighborhoods, there is only one supplier of electrical generators, which people rely on in a country facing an electricity crisis. A resident of one neighborhood remarked, “The neighborhood is no longer attractive because the subscription to the generator costs as much as the rent.” People are also often not charged according to a meter, but rather by an arbitrary price they work out with the providers. [L’Orient Today]
Lebanon can make critical improvements to its electricity supply with two quick changes: allowing decentralized production of electricity through renewable energy sources, and launching a public awareness campaign that promotes citizen participation in the provision of electricity, including rate setting, transmission, incorporating all community suppliers, and collection of bills. Get the generator owners to come up with a plan to put themselves out of business. If they start now, they can be heroes, otherwise, they will reinforce the image that their only interest was enrichment at the cost of others.
-ATFL Vice President Jean AbiNader
EDL to Issue New Tariffs in February 2023 This past Monday, Electricité du Liban issued the first change in tariff prices since 1994. The new bill will reportedly be calculated in dollars and collected in lira. The plan is supposed to result in 8 to 10 hours of electricity per day to the Lebanese, who currently enjoy about two hours of state-provided electricity per day. [L’Orient Today]
No wonder there is little faith that the government can reform, beginning with the much targeted electricity sector. It’s not enough to issue tariffs. A public information campaign that ties the tariff increases into additional hours of electricity is needed, not continued raises by a government that has not delivered on any of its promises to increase energy supply. With new tariffs that are supposed to sustain the sector, the government will take a major step forward in attracting investors to a sector too long neglected and mismanaged.
-ATFL Vice President Jean AbiNader
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed 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.