The World Bank (WB) yesterday said that it was ready to support the new Lebanese government as the country faces economic and social uncertainty.
“Lebanon does not have the luxury of time to waste to redress issues that need immediate attention,” WB said in a statement after a meeting between its regional director, Saroj Kumar Jha, and the Lebanese President Michel Aoun.
Calling for a rapid formation of a new cabinet the bank said it was expecting a recession in 2019 to be even “more significant than an earlier projection of a 0.2 per cent contraction in the economy.”
“With every passing day, the situation is becoming more acute, and this would make a recovery extremely challenging,” Jha said, stressing that there was an “urgent need to stop the emerging economic crisis.”
The WB official stressed that his bank was “ready to extend all possible support to the new government that commits itself to good governance and creating opportunities for all Lebanese.”
Reuters quoted Aoun as saying that the new government would have “competent ministers of good reputation and far from suspicions of corruption.”
Protests erupted across Lebanon some three weeks ago amid a build-up of anger at rising costs of living, new tax plans and a ruling elite accused of rampant corruption.
Last week, Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri resigned following unprecedented nationwide protests, deepening a political crisis and complicating efforts to enact badly needed economic reforms in Lebanon.
On Sunday, anti-government protesters flooded streets in Beirut and north and south of the capital, rejecting Aoun’s attempt to position himself as the guarantor of the protest movement and its anti-corruption drive. The demonstrations took place hours after the pro-Aoun rally had staged.