Initial talks between the International Monetary Fund and Lebanon’s government on its financial rescue plan have been “productive,” the IMF’s managing director said Monday.
“I had a productive call with Lebanon’s Prime Minister Hassan Diab today to discuss the government’s recovery plan, which is an important step forward to address Lebanon’s economic challenges,” Kristalina Georgieva tweeted.
“We agreed that our teams will soon start discussions on much needed reforms to restore sustainability and growth for the benefit of the Lebanese people.”
The government is seeking around $10 billion from the IMF and donor countries between now and 2024 to help stabilize Lebanon’s free-falling economy, which contracted by 6.9 percent last year and is expected to fall by a further 13.8 percent in 2020, according to the government’s plan.
A source at the Finance Ministry indicated Monday that the issue of Hezbollah’s influence in Cabinet was not currently an obstacle in talks with the IMF.
“The atmosphere of talks with the IMF so far was positive,” the source said on condition of anonymity.
Hezbollah head Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah endorsed Lebanon’s economic rescue plan Monday, calling on various political groups to cooperate and work with the government on lifting the country out of economic crisis.
“This plan is the first step on the path to economic recovery. It’s an important and big step and that’s how we must view it,” Nasrallah said in a televised speech.