This Week in Lebanon

Sunday, November 8, 2020
Opinion by admin
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NOVEMBER 7, 2020
Lebanon’s Medicine Shortage
Basic Good Subsidies to Cease
Beirut Port Silos to be Demolished

 

Lebanon’s Medicine Shortage
In the midst of a severe economic crisis, Lebanon is facing a medicine shortage. A warning from the central bank regarding shortages of hard currency for essential imports like medicine has triggered panic buying while both patients and wholesalers stockpile medicines. The health ministry recently requested pharmacists to limit sales to keep important medicines on the shelves. (Financial Times)

ANALYSIS

“The outpouring of compassion and support for the Lebanese people following the disastrous August 4th explosion has been remarkable. The Lebanese American community and several US NGOs have donated more than $30M in medicine and medical supplies so far, with more on the way. This is now proving to be a long term need that must continue in the months ahead. It is important for the government to stand aside while we carry on this people-to-people exchange through trusted NGOs in the US and Lebanon. Roadblocks and threats of taxation by the Lebanese government are disheartening. Again, the Lebanese Armed Forces have stepped in to ensure that the people of Lebanon receive the badly needed supplies donated by US communities.”
-ATFL President Edward M. Gabriel


Subsidies on Basic Commodities to Cease After 2020
Lebanon’s central bank lift subsidies on basic commodities by the end of this year. Lebanese are concerned about prices of goods like fuel, medicine and flour as an increasing percentage of the population faces poverty. Economists say that Lebanon needs between $600 and $800 million per month to import these goods. Central bank governor Riad Salameh has announced that the bank will not be able to continue subsidies for these basic commodities beyond the end of 2020. (Al-Monitor)

ANALYSIS

“With inflation soaring to more than 120%, goods rising to 370%, the poor accounting for more than 55% of the population, and extreme poverty tripling in the past year to 23%, Lebanon is in deep crisis. Subsidies on wheat, fuel, and medicine were across the board and not apportioned according to need. Now the country’s foreign reserves are at a disastrous point and subsidies will end this year. Lebanon’s economy is a shadow of its former self and there is still no leadership to enact needed reforms.”
-ATFL Policy Director Jean AbiNader


Beirut Port Silos to be Demolished
Caretaker Economy Minister Raoul Nehme announced that the Port of Beirut silos will be demolished following the damage incurred by the August 4th explosion. The silos are at high risk of collapse and because of their endangerment to pubic safety they will be torn down. After the ruined grains are removed, the silo structures will be demolished by the Lebanese Army in coordination with engineers in Lebanon and abroad. (The 961)

ANALYSIS

“Without the solid structures that made up the port silos, the devastation of August 4 would have been far greater. Now what’s left must be torn down due to structural damage. Will the leadership manage to let this go forward without arguing about how to divvy up the contracts while Beirut burns? It is a dilemma for the incoming Prime Minister how to assemble a government committed to Lebanon’s future and able to be effective in implementing reforms.”
-ATFL Policy Director 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.