Lebanon Starts Hiring for Power Body to Comply with Terms for World Bank Funds
Lebanese File Entirely Left off of IMF Agenda Lebanese Religious Leader Slams MPs for Failing Nation’s People, World Why, With Each Rainstorm, Does Lebanon Dive into Chaos?
Lebanon Starts Hiring for Power Body to Comply with Terms for World Bank Funds Lebanon’s Energy Ministry has recently announced it has begun hiring for an Electricity Regulatory Authority (ERA), a requirement for receiving World Bank assistance to support the Levantine Energy Deal. This deal would more than double the amount of electricity provided to the Lebanese people on a daily basis. [Reuters]
The devil is in the details. As the Ministry begins the process of hiring for an ERA, will it recruit independent regulators not beholding to any political party or individual and truly devolve power to the regulatory body according to international standards? The World Bank is expected to carefully review proposals by the Energy Ministry to ensure that Lebanon has presented a bonafide cost recovery plan and a regulatory reform program that meets international expectations.
-ATFL President Edward M. Gabriel
Lebanese File Entirely Left off of IMF Agenda The Executive Board of the IMF is currently in a series of meetings where it is assessing the value of staff-level agreements between its employees and various governments around the world. The board is reviewing agreements currently in place in Egypt and Tunisia, but Lebanon was left off of the agenda entirely. The Lebanon file will not be reviewed as the Lebanese government has yet to implement the necessary reforms outlined in the staff-level agreement. [LBC]
A piecemeal approach to approving IMF prior agreement legislation is not working. The parliament needs a strong – and perhaps independently – facilitated process, involving top government officials, parliamentarian representatives from all political parties and coalitions, the IMF, and key stakeholders to agree on a reform package. Without such a process, the IMF reforms are going nowhere. A facilitated process should begin immediately but expectations to complete such a deal will be difficult until a president is elected.
-ATFL President Edward M. Gabriel
Lebanese Religious Leader Slams MPs for Failing Nation’s People, World Last Sunday, Maronite Patriarch Bechara Boutros Al-Rahi renewed his calls for the international community to help address Lebanon’s economic and political crisis. He went on to blame the political class for failing to implement reforms that would have prevented these crises in the first place. [Arab News]
Once again the Maronite Patriarch has raised his voice to scold Lebanon’s political class for their seeming disregard for the future of the country. His objections to their constant obfuscation and corruption are well known, and he is striking out to protest the current inertia in electing a “clean” president and moving ahead with adopting reforms demanded by the IMF before beginning a bail out of the state. Representing a sizeable part of the population, it is disconcerting that his concerns go unheeded by politicians claiming to represent major Christian parties, thus dividing the community even further. Is he correct in asking, “Is there a deliberate decision to demolish existing Lebanon and build on its ruins a draft state that does not belong to its people, its history, or its surroundings?”
-ATFL Vice President Jean AbiNader
Why, With Each Rainstorm, Does Lebanon Dive into Chaos? Lebanon’s outdated infrastructure is plaguing the country. Every time the country experiences heavy rain, local communities suffer from flooding and people die. This video explains the nature of the problem as well as potential solutions. [L’Orient Today]
This telling video looks at the increased flooding in recent years in Lebanon. According to the report, it is not just climate change that is to blame. Investments in upgrading and maintaining sewerage and run-offs systems have not kept up with urbanization and the money diverted to other projects (hint – corruption). This is further compounded by the irregular trash collection which has blocked drains and made efficient sewage flows impossible. These are solvable problems. Perhaps handing this responsibility and funding over to the municipal bodies that are directly affected may be a positive first step.
For a heart-breaking report on the suffering in Lebanon, you may want to turn to this report.
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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.
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