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EBRD First VP visits Minister of Finance, says reforms less painful than alternatives

Apr 02

EBRD First VP visits Minister of Finance, says reforms less painful than alternatives

NNA - Finance Minister, Ali Hassan Khalil, on Monday welcomed a delegation from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), headed by its First Vice President, Jürgen Rigterink, comprising of its Vice President for Policy and Partnerships, Pierre Heilbronn, the regional Head of Eastern Mediterranean, Heike Harmgart, and Head of Lebanon office, Gretchen Biery.

'There will be a lot of investments,” EBRD’s Rigterink said in response to a question about the purpose of his visit to Lebanon, and the possibility of making investments other than those made in 2017.

“In 2018, investments amounted to €244 million, and we want to continue and accelerate the process if possible. Nonetheless, the most important issue that I have broached with the minister is the current economic indicator of an impending crisis, and we, in the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, feel that there is a need for important and bold reforms, especially in terms of reforming public finances and energy,” Rigterink said.

'In our experience, reforms may be painful, but the alternative is more painful, and we believe that thanks to the current government, Lebanon is ready to take strict reform measures,” the EBRD VP added.

'Both the prime minister and the finance minister have confirmed the seriousness of the situation, and we hope that in two months, we will witness the new state budget under implementation,' Rigterink said in response to a question.

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