Warnings that Lebanon will enter total darkness after the election
Gas and electricity supplies from Egypt and Jordan await US approval
Sunday – 30 Ramadan 1443 AH – 01 May 2022 AD Issue No. [
Home Affairs Minister Bassam Mawlawi yesterday chaired a meeting of the Central Security Council to discuss preparations and security measures to ensure the smooth running of the elections (National Agency)
Beirut: Youssef Diab
Warnings are growing of a renewed electricity crisis in Lebanon after the parliamentary elections scheduled for May 15, and that the post-election phase could be the worst, and will testify to the announcement of the state’s total inability to provide the necessary services, especially in the electricity sector, which heralds Lebanon’s entry into an era. The total darkness, coupled with the suspension of oil supplies from Iraq, the shaky completion of the final agreement to withdraw gas from Egypt and electricity from Jordan, and the difficulty of securing a treasury advance for the Ministry of Energy to fuel world markets buy.
Lebanese Energy Minister Walid Fayyad paved the way for the gloomy stage, explicitly acknowledging that “the completion of the contract to import gas from Egypt through Syrian territory requires US guarantees not to fall under the sanctions imposed against Syria has not been imposed, as well as the arrangement of the necessary funding from the World Bank. ” Fayyad said last month after talks with Egyptian Petroleum Minister Tarek El Molla: “The matter is currently in the hands of the World Bank to secure the necessary funding, in addition to the approval of the United States of America so that the repercussions of the Caesar Act does not reflect on the project to transport gas to Lebanon through Syria. “
Hoping for the arrival of gas from Egypt and electricity from Jordan declining, the government does not move a finger and shows no interest in the risks of entering darkness and the associated negative consequences on the ground.Electricity, and he confirmed to Asharq. Al-Awsat said that “the problem does not lie in the agreement with the World Bank, nor in how gas can be drawn from Egypt and electricity from Jordan. The real problem is that Lebanon’s decision is abroad.” He said, “The government knows in advance that Egyptian gas will not come and there is no possibility of withdrawing energy from Jordan in the coming weeks and months. Despite this, it is not looking for alternative options, and is not honest with people about the reality of the crisis, but is waiting for the situation to explode in the street. “
On alternative solutions that could compensate for Egyptian gas and Jordanian electricity, Najm said: “We submitted a solution formula eight months ago, but we received no response as long as the World Bank wants to give us money, and there are US facilities. related to electricity, why do not we buy fuel to run our factories? ? Why not build new factories with the amounts allocated by the World Bank to help Lebanon, and then stop the waste and brokerage operations? He added, “Just as people are willing to pay for diesel for generators, they are more willing to increase the rate on energy, but only on condition that you give them electricity.” Negm pointed out that “the Egyptians and Jordanians did not obtain guarantees from the Americans that sanctions would not be imposed on them in the event that gas and electricity were imported into Lebanon by Syria.”
Lebanon is embroiled in a serious electricity supply crisis, which it is trying to resolve through a plan backed by the United States to use Egyptian gas that will be pumped by Jordan and Syria to operate a power station in northern Lebanon, but the agreement has not been signed so far. An energy and oil expert, Laurie Haytayan, expected difficult days for Lebanon, especially after the election. She told Asharq Al-Awsat that “the ambiguity surrounding the government’s policy does not reassure any external party to deal with it. ”. She pointed out that “the World Bank has pledged its plan to finance electricity with reforms. Unfortunately, these reforms are nothing but promises.”
Prime Minister Najib Mikati’s government has promised citizens that with the arrival of Egyptian gas in Lebanon at the beginning of this spring and the import of energy from Jordan, the hours of electricity supply will increase to 10 or 12 hours a day, but none of these promises were kept, and the country entered the stage of rationing.Too hard. Haitian stressed that “the main bet still depends on the import of Egyptian gas, but Cairo has not received clear US guarantees that sanctions will not be imposed in the event that gas is brought to Lebanon by Syria, especially since there” a dispute between Democrats and Republicans over this plan. ” She added, “The administration of President Joe Biden and the Democratic Party wants to support Lebanon and mitigate the impact of the electricity crisis, while the Republicans strongly oppose it, refusing to push through the Syrian regime and the existing authority in Lebanon. Therefore, we see a lack of trust between the parties associated with this file, because any new US administration can use this card against countries that are considered to have violated Caesar’s Law.
The danger is that the total absence of electricity is coming to the gates of the promising summer season, overturning some of the positives announcing the arrival of large numbers of Lebanese expatriates and foreign tourists, and the increase in bookings on flights and hotels, threatening to to fly this season, on which many bet to improve the economic cycle and the flow of hard currency in the market.
Haitian attributed the World Bank’s loss of confidence in political authority to the absence of a clear vision of how to address this crisis over the payment of the monthly bill.