IMF to assess Lebanon’s reform package

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The International Monetary Fund said is assessing Lebanon’s emergency reform package which it announced last week and stressed the urgency of implementing the reforms as the country faces high debt levels and fiscal deficits.

Political unrest has plagued Lebanon in the last ten days as corruption issues came to surface as well as mismanagement of state finances.

Lebanon introduced a set of measures to appease demonstrators and convince foreign donors it can cancel budget deficit in 2020.

However, the reform package seemed ineffectual and weak as demonstrators remained persistent and unfazed.

“We’re studying it, we need to see not only what is in the package but also the timeline of the package for a country like Lebanon that has such high level of debt over GDP and high levels of twin deficits,” director of IMF’s Middle East and Central Asia Department Jihad Azour said.

Lebanon currently has one of the world’s highest levels of government debt. The IMF has predicted a fiscal deficit of 9.8% of GDP this year and 11.5% in 2020.

“Fundamental reforms are urgently needed in Lebanon in order to restore macro-economic stability, bring confidence back, stimulate growth and provide some solutions to the issues that were raised by the street,” he said.

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