The new Lebanese government, formed after a 13-month hiatus, in its first meeting on Monday addressed the mammoth tasks that awaited the country amid two years of economic collapse. The session began at 11:00 am (08:00 GMT) at the presidential palace in the presence of President Michel Aoun and Prime Minister Najib Mikati. National News Agency (ANI) said the government has constituted a committee to draft the ministerial declaration, which will be tabled in Parliament during the trust vote in the new government. Lebanon was without a new government since the resignation of Hassan Diab’s cabinet in the wake of the devastating explosion at the port of Beirut on August 4, 2020. The delay worsened the economic crisis, which the World Bank described as one of the worst. in the world since 1850. Amid myriad challenges, the new government will have to quickly reach an agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), a necessary step to get out of the crisis. “I hope that the Ministerial Committee will ensure that the Ministerial Declaration includes the continuation of negotiations with the IMF,” Michel Aoun said on Monday. Due to shortage of foreign exchange and default in debt, the country has experienced acute shortage of fuel, medicine and electricity for months affecting all aspects of daily life. The new cabinet will also have to prepare the ground for the legislative elections to be held in May 2022. On Monday, the finance ministry announced that it had been informed of the payment of more than $1.1 billion in aid by the IMF on 16 September. Rights. Special Draw – as part of the fund’s aid to several countries to deal with the economic fallout from the pandemic. This international asset will be deposited into a special account of the Banque du Liban (BDL), whose dollar reserves have thawed since the start of the crisis. The gradual lifting of subsidies by BDL in recent months has not helped to address many of the shortfalls, which currently include rationing for more than 22 hours a day. District generators, who usually carry ration, fuel oil, have also become costly and scarce currency. Lebanon’s Mikati pledged on Monday “we will get down to solving the issue of (shortage) of fuel and medicines to stop the humiliation”.
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