Cautious relief in the banking sector after Mikati’s speech before the Finance Committee on Thursday

Ali Zeineddine wrote in “Al-Sharq al-Awsat”: The Lebanese ministerial team in charge of the negotiations file with the International Monetary Fund is working to update the memorandum of financial and economic policy and the texts to be handed over to parliament be, to finalize. after the Eid al-Adha holiday, in line with Prime Minister Najib Mikati’s ‘oral’ promises made to Parliament’s Finance and Budget Committee last Thursday, calling for amendments, some of which have the character of ‘essential’. , in particular with regard to the retention of the rights of depositors in banks and the establishment of the “recovery fund”».

At the same time, the competent departments in the Ministry of Finance have begun to reconsider the expenditure and revenue data in the draft general budget law for the current year, and to prepare a supplementary study determining the exchange rate and the extent of its impact. on the citizen, including the price of the customs dollar stuck between multiple proposals ranging between 8 and 12 thousand pounds as a first phase. , which establishes the recovery of the lost relative balance in the state’s public finances due to the serious differences between the official price of 1 515 pounds per dollar, and the average of 25 000 pounds based on the central banking platform, while the price in informal markets range between 28 and 30 thousand pounds per dollar.

Mikati, according to follow-up financial sources, urges his ministerial and advisory teams to withdraw the drafting of the new texts of the memorandum and the draft budget amendments, in a way that translates the instructions he made before the deputies and the answers he gave to them. questions and concerns, which will enable the government, even in the capacity of a business leader supported by the legislature and the financial sector, From accelerating the transition from the formula of the initial agreement with the International Monetary Fund mission to complete the final formulation of the completed recovery plan in preparation for its submission to the Fund’s top management and the conclusion of the agreement which includes the $ 3 billion financing program for a period of 4 years.

Asharq Al-Awsat monitored that the Prime Minister received an atmosphere of positive interactions in the financial sector, following his interventions in the House of Representatives, and encouraging preparations to meet the new corrections on the financial rescue paths, in ‘ a completely different spirit than the confrontational approach that the previous comparison faced..

A senior banking official, in contact with Asharq Al-Awsat, reaffirmed the “cautious banking sector’s satisfaction” with the emerging “dynamics” in the government’s approaches and the need to immunize Lebanon’s file with the Fund, with a broad national consensus on the structural reforms required in the areas of state administration and its institutions and in the rectification of monetary deviations and public finances, provided that this results in a productive co-operation of the executive and legislative authorities concerned exclusively with procedural measures and the issuance of a package of supplementary laws. the rescue plan..

The official acknowledges the fact that the authorities are unable to properly comply with the requirements of the reform objectives set out by the Fund and the international community, which are listed as essential conditions to keep Lebanon out of the cycle at all. of collapse to help those experiencing it. financial, economic and living levels. The “major collapse” in connection with the sharp contraction in the stock of hard currency reserves with the Central Bank, which fell below the level of $ 10 billion, and the serious risks it could cause go beyond the relatively disciplined monetary range under the umbrella of the “exchange platform”, to undermine the remaining pair of the disease drug support system and bread, and progress to maximizing hyperinflation, the cumulative index of which has exceeded one thousand percent.

In the same context, banker Naguib Samaan, general manager of First National Bank, believes that the corrections announced by the Prime Minister orally to the delegates “are of exceptional importance in reconfiguring the rescue file with all its inclusions”.».

Samaan adds: “The need to define the financial gap and examine the distribution of the sources of the realized losses emerges as an absolute priority, so that, according to the figures, the rule of burden sharing according to the responsibilities and capabilities available to the trio of the state, the central bank and the banking system are respected.».

It requires “the acceptance of the best options aimed at ensuring the maximum limits for the protection of all depositors of all categories, from the proposed protection line at the limits of $ 100,000 and the determination of the sources of money injections and repayment periods, provided that also, as a priority, the protection of financial rights which are not less important in their social impact, in particular the deposits of social security, mutual funds and assistance belonging to professional syndicates and others, and then feasible formulate proposals that will protect the financial and moral rights of shareholders and investors who will be involved at a later stage in the rebuilding of capital and financial and financing progress.

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