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Lebanon seeks $5bn in international loans

January 24, 2020 at 9:38 am

Lebanese President Michel Aoun (C) meets with Prime Minister-designate Hassan Diab (3rd L) and newly assigned cabinet members at Baabda Palace in Beirut, Lebanon on 22 January 2020. [LEBANESE PRESIDENCY / HANDOUT – Anadolu Agency]

Lebanon’s new government is looking to secure $4-5 billion in soft loans from international donors to finance purchases of wheat, fuel and medicines, the country’s newly appointed Minister of Finance, Ghazi Wazni, announced yesterday.

Wazni told the Daily Star newspaper that the funding would cover the country’s needs “for one year”.

“We will ask the international donors to provide Lebanon with $4 billion to $5 billion in soft loans to finance the purchasing of wheat, fuel oil and pharmaceuticals,” he said.

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Lebanon’s new government took office on Tuesday grappling with an unprecedented financial crisis. Local banks have imposed controls on withdrawals and transfers and the Lebanese pound has sunk against the dollar.

The government was set up with backing of Hezbollah and its political allies. Former Prime Minister Saad Al-Hariri – a traditional ally of the West and Gulf Arab states – and his party are not part of the cabinet.