In a bid to push foreword economic reforms, the Lebanese parliament has ratified a draft law for the privatization of Electricite du Liban (EDL). A minimum 40 percent of the company’s shares is to be sold to the private sector by 2005, reported Bank Audi.
EDL has been draining Lebanon’s Treasury, incurring an annual primary deficit of close to 400 billion Lebanese pounds ($264 million), which so far has been covered entirely by the government. The new law separates the company into two categories: production and distribution, which will undergo privatization and transportation of high voltage electricity—to be kept in the public sphere.
The Lebanese Cabinet approved a seven-point rescue plan for EDL in April. It granted security assistance to help with bill collection and to stop meter tampering. The plan also offered to extend the company a $149.3-million loan from the Treasury in addition to a previously endorsed $133-million loan.
EDL’s debt is now at approximately $950 million, of which $700 million was borrowed from the government since 1996. The company has lost almost $600 million in uncollected bills since 1992 and another $230 million to illegal electricity connections and technical problems. — (menareport.com)
© 2002 Mena Report (www.menareport.com )