Will we say goodbye to SDR money before the end of 2022?

Maurice Matta wrote in “An-Nahar”:

In mid-April, the government authorized the spending of the International Monetary Fund’s Special Drawing Rights Funds in Lebanon, totaling $ 1.135 billion, after the Banque du Liban refused to continue importing from to finance the funds of compulsory investment. , and provides for either a loan agreement to be signed between the Government and the Bank of Lebanon, or obtaining government approval, signed by its President and Finance Minister, Youssef Khalil, to provide these funds to cover the required credits to finance subsidized imports.

With the intensification of the flour, medicine and electricity crisis in recent weeks, the government has rushed to find a mechanism that would enable the Banque du Liban to continue to finance the importation of subsidized goods and medicines, in addition to covering some operating expenses in hardware. currency after the “Central” reserve reached a very low level estimated at 11 billion dollars. Meanwhile, the unpaid bills of traders and importers at the Banque du Liban have accumulated in the billions, including those for medicine, fuel, medical supplies and others. . At its last sitting, members of the Central Council of the Banque du Liban unanimously insisted on refusing to disburse any funds in US dollars, except at the request of the government, after the possibility of concluding a loan contract between the government and the Banque du Liban to sign. has fallen over the past few days, with the Presidency of the Government and the Ministry of Finance taking the view of the Consultative and Legislative Authority in the Ministry of Justice, recommending that the Government not conclude any treaty that includes conditions that related to state finances, trade treaties and other financial treaties except after approval by the House of Representatives, based on Article 52 of the Constitution. And based on the commission’s non-binding opinion of the Council of Ministers, the state loan from the Banque du Liban requires it to return the money, by opening an extraordinary credit or an additional appropriation in the budget, or by the funds available in the state coffers to pay the fees, so the commission confirms that it is not permissible to sign. The government has a public loan contract and no commitment that involves spending money from the state coffers, except under a law passed by the House of Representatives based on sections 85 and 88 of the Constitution. The government has left nothing but a written request from the Banque du Liban to prejudice the SDR funds and pay out $ 100 million of these rights, which necessarily means that these funds have taken the disbursement route to before the end of this year to end. latest in the event that the same rate of exhaustion persists.

In a first phase, the government decided to approve the proposal of the Minister of Finance and Economy to ask the Banque du Liban for the value of the credits associated with the importation of wheat, which had previously received initial approval , amounting to $ 15.399 million for the months of February and March and $ 21.678 million for the month of April 2022. The Council of Ministers also approved the request of the Banque du Liban for chronic and incurable diseases at a value of $ 13 million, in addition to securing $ 60 million for electricity. The money spent with the approval of the government covers consumption for a period of weeks, which necessarily means going to more approvals in the coming days that will come from the government to the Banque du Liban to get more money from the pay out special drawing rights About $ 15 million to resolve the passport crisis and cover the cost of the contract with the French company in charge of passport insurance for the General Directorate of Public Security, which has stopped further requests for new appointments accept until the funds are secured to print more passports. Add to that a new crisis looming in the near horizon and related to the telecommunications sector, where “Al-Nahar” has learned that contacts have taken place between the Banque du Liban and the Ministry of Communications, confirming the latter’s inability to continue go without securing basic dollars for maintenance and operation, and for the “Central” to give back and emphasize the need for obtaining government approval for the disbursement of SDR funds. In this context, “Al-Nahar” has learned that the government will not proceed with all requests for approval to cover the opening of more credits from the special withdrawal funds before the parliamentary elections, so that it will then enter into business, which will necessitate the obtaining of a decree signed by the Presidents of the Republic and the Government and the Ministers concerned to request from the Banque du Liban. Representatives by law.

Attention is drawn to the forthcoming cabinet meeting, where an item on the agenda of the session is included which stipulates the Ministry of Health’s request to transfer the monthly financial amount allocated for the import of medicines in the amount of 35 million dollars carry, while some banks have begun to receive requests from importers to finance import operations, so that the arrival of medicines is expected during the period In the near future, preference should be given to drugs for cancer and incurable diseases. In this context, drug importers confirm that the sustainable solution remains in the provision of credits and financing, in order to ensure the importation of subsidized medicines and to accelerate the payment of fees to companies and laboratories manufactured abroad, in order to enable The value of these fees exceeded $ 400 million, which means that The manufacturing laboratories sent medicines of this value sold at the subsidized price in the market, without Lebanon for it. paid according to the established mechanism.

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