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bankingFebruary 17, 2021

MPs Voice Objections on World Bank Loan Deal Referred by Aoun, Diab

The finance, health, labor and social affairs parliamentary committees held a joint session Tuesday to study a draft law for signing a loan treaty with the World Bank aimed at financing an emergency plan for the support of the country’s poorest and most vulnerable families.

During the session, several blocs voiced reservations over the manner in which the draft law was referred to parliament -- through an extraordinary approval from President Michel Aoun and caretaker PM Hassan Diab instead of being approved in a cabinet meeting.

Several lawmakers described the move as a constitutional violation.

“Constitutionally speaking, we consider that Cabinet should have convened to approve (the draft law) while taking into account all constitutional conditions,” MP Ali Fayyad of Hizbullah’s Loyalty to Resistance bloc told reporters.

“This is an international treaty, to be assumed by the person authorized by the President, but Cabinet has to ratify this treaty before submitting it to parliament,” Fayyad added.

MP Mohammed al-Hajjar of al-Mustaqbal bloc meanwhile commented on the discrepancy between the dollar exchange rate that the treaty mentions and the actual exchange rate on the black market, demanding that the Finance Ministry and the central bank explain where the surplus will go.

MP Alain Aoun of the Strong Lebanon bloc lamented that there is a proposed loan agreement without a “comprehensive plan.”

“Where is the plan for rationalizing subsidies?” Aoun asked, addressing the caretaker government.

MP Hadi Abu al-Hosn of the Democratic Gathering bloc meanwhile reminded that the Gathering had proposed a complete plan for rationalizing subsidization.