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IMF bailout talks on hold: Wazni

Lebanon's Finance Minister Ghazi Wazni gestures as he speaks during an interview with Reuters in Beirut, Lebanon March 12, 2020. REUTERS/Mohamed Azakir/File Photo

BEIRUT: Finance Minister Ghazi Wazni said Lebanon’s bailout talks with the International Monetary Fund have been put on hold, local newspaper Al-Joumhouria reported in its Friday issue.

Wazni said the meetings with the IMF will not resume as they are waiting for Lebanon "to implement reforms as soon as possible” and to agree on a unified figure of the losses, before going forward with the talks.

However he noted that he will be in communication with the fund until talks resume.

“We need to come up with a unified approach agreed upon by all political forces,” Wazni said, adding that there is no room for delay with this regard.

Lebanon is in desperate need of US dollar inflow as the economy collapses and the Lebanese pound devaluating rapidly.

The government is aiming for a $10 billion bailout package from the IMF to stabilize the economy.

However, the crucial IMF negotiations took massive hits last week as two senior members of the Lebanon team resigned in protest to the government’s approach to the fund.

The government and the Central Bank disagree on the figure of losses. This in turn has stalled the negotiation process since it is a preliminary and required step of the process. The IMF has stated that it agrees with the government’s figures.

Managing Director of the fund Kristalina Georgieva said there is “no breakthrough on an IMF financial assistance program yet.”

 

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