IMF urges deeper reforms in Lebanon
The International Monetary Fund called on Lebanon to implement deeper reforms as Finance Minister Mohammad Safadi met U.S. officials in Washington Wednesday.
“We agreed that Lebanon can no longer continue to overlook the bold financial, fiscal administrative reforms,” the finance minister said following a meeting with IMF head Christian Lagarde.
“Political forces should assume responsibility in improving the financial situation away from political divisions,” he added.
Safadi said Lagarde suggested that the 2013 budget should include the investments necessary to bolster the economy, but at the same time, should also cut squandering and unnecessary expenses.
“The IMF is satisfied with Lebanon’s [economic] performance in general, but there were a few reservations,” Safadi was quoted as saying by the National News Agency.
He added that the IMF expressed willingness to discuss various economic propositions, particularly in light of international trust that the country still enjoys.
Safadi’s talks with the fund came as the ministry mulled increasing taxes to fund a new salary scale for public sector employees. The government has so far failed to finalize a budget draft that would cover the cost of the wage hikes.
Most ministers have expressed strong reservations about raising taxes amid a severe economic slowdown and political uncertainty in the country.
Earlier, the IMF and the World Bank opposed the public sector salary increases and urged Safadi to avoid such a move, citing concerns over inflation and fiscal conditions.
The Economic Committees, a group that represents the private sector, has also expressed similar views.
- Blame it on the women: Why KSA businesses are saying govt feminization program costing them millions
- Kazakhstan calling: Astana looking to target $5 billion in investments from UAE
- S. Sudan and Egypt discuss economic ties, trade relations
- Can privatization save Lebanon's economy?
- Between a rock and a hard place: are poor fiscal policies perpetuating poverty in Jordan?
- While private sector struggles, Lebanese Cabinet set to cover million dollar public sector salary hikes
- Public sector wage increase wrangling continues in Lebanon
- Taxi drivers to strike in Lebanon
- Trade minister says Lebanese cabinet close to passing budget
- Lebanon leans on private sector to close the deficit gap