Lebanon’s Information Minister George Kordahi has been quoted by official sources as saying that the country needs $1 billion to bring up the value of the Lebanese pound against the dollar.
Lebanon is currently in the grips of an economic crisis that the World Bank has described as possibly among the three worst of its kind across the globe.
Since 2019, the Lebanese pound has lost more than 90 percent of its purchasing power, leading to a cascading effect that has resulted in more than three out of every four citizens living in poverty.
The crisis has also seen the dollar rise in value against the Lebanese pound to a great extent, with the black-market rates much higher than the official rates.
It was in this context that Kordahi was quoted by a report in Lebanon’s official National News Agency as saying that the country needs $1 billion to control the rise of the American currency against the Lebanese pound.
He acknowledged the fact that the demand for dollars is high, especially since diesel fuel is sold today in dollar terms.
Fuel shortage in Lebanon has reached stages where the government-run power-supply company has at least once run out of the commodity, plunging the country into darkness.
Even otherwise, most Lebanese get around one or two hours of power supply, and have to rely on off-market generators that run on expensive fuel for electricity.
The situation has been exacerbated by the country effectively doing away with fuel subsidies, which has driven fuel prices to new highs.
The country has been banking on aid from the International Monetary Fund and other foreign powers, including immediate neighbors.
However, in most cases, the aid-providers have called for reform in governance and more transparency, with the overarching belief being that misgovernance and corruption have landed Lebanon in its current situation.