Experts urge gov’t to save Lebanon from economic deterioration

lebanon opposing forces flagLebanese experts have urged the government to take measures to save the country from economic deterioration though they are optimistic about the positive market reaction to the reconciliation among different parties over June 30 Aley shooting.

“We have witnessed a positive signal in the market following the reconciliation as the price of Lebanon’s sovereign eurobonds maturing in 2030 rose to their highest level in a week,” Sami Nader, director of Levant Institute for Strategic Affairs in Lebanon, told Xinhua.

But, Nader added, Lebanon needs more concrete and quick measures to save the country especially that the International Monetary Fund and other donor institutions were not much convinced about Lebanon’s capacity to cut its budget deficit from 11.4 percent to 7.5 percent as it was stated in its 2019 state budget.

Lebanon has lately approved its 2019 budget by adopting reform measures that aim at cutting budget deficit.

But the security incident that took place in Aley on June 30, killing two men escorting Minister of State for Refugee Affairs Saleh Gharib through the town of Qabr Shmoun, led to government paralysis due to big differences among rival political parties about ways of solving the incident’s ramifications.

The shooting took place as supporters of the leader of the Progressive Socialist Party Walid Jumblatt, tried to block the road in order to oppose a visit to a nearby town by Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil.

Bassil’s tour was seen as a challenge to Jumblatt, the de facto head of the Druze community and the much larger rival of the Lebanese Democratic Party, which Gharib belongs to.

President Michel Aoun chaired on Friday a reconciliation meeting between the heads of Lebanon’s two main rival Druze parties – Walid Jumblatt of the Progressive Socialist Party and Talal Arslan of the Lebanese Democratic Party – to agree on a common approach to solve Mount Lebanon’s incident.

Mohamad Basbous, economic expert at the Progressive Socialist Party, was much upbeat about the reconciliation as well while urging different parties to speed up reforms and prepare for the 2020 budget in a way that would enable the country to boost growth rate.

Basbous said he hopes that the reconciliation in Baabda Palace would impact positively the reports that are planned to be issued by credit ratings agencies later this month.

XINHUA