26 March 2020- Lebanon’s key Policy Responses
Lebanon’s key Policy Responses as of March 26, 2020 :
Lebanon’s underlying economic situation is challenging, with high public debt, current account deficit, and funding needs. The spread of COVID-19 is contributing to the economic recession. The number of COVID-19 cases stands at 368 and 6 deaths as of March 26, 2020. The authorities have implemented a range of measures to try and limit the spread of the virus encompassing a general mobilization with complete closure of all educational establishments, private sector and public institutions until April 12, 2020. Lebanon also closed the airport—after suspending flights from 11 countries—as well as seaports and land borders.
The government established a national solidarity fund that would accept in-kind and monetary donations. The ministry of finance announced the extension of all deadlines related to payment of taxes and fees. The ministry of social affairs, in collaboration with the ministries of industry, agriculture, defense, interior, labor, finance, economy and information, agreed to devise a plan—to be executed in coordination with municipalities, mayors, social affairs centers and the army—to distribute a solidarity basket of food and sanitizers for families hit economically and financially as a result of COVID-19. Work will proceed on providing monetary assistance as well.
MONETARY AND MACRO-FINANCIAL
The Banque Du Liban (BDL) issued circular 547, allowing banks and financial institutions to extend exceptional five-year zero percent interest rate loans in Lebanese Pounds and in dollars to customers that already have credit facilities but are unable to meet their obligations, operating expenses, or pay the salaries to their employees during March, April and May 2020 as a result of the interruption of activity due to the COVID-19. BDL will in turn provide banks and financial institutions five-year zero percent interest rate credit lines in dollars equivalent to the value of exceptional loans granted.
International Monetary Fund Consulat Général du Liban à Montréal Ambassade du Canada au Liban Lebanese American Chamber of Commerce Embassy of Lebanon, Ottawa