May 6, 2020 / 4:11 PM / 2 months ago

Lebanon rescue plan, any IMF deal will need laws - MP

BEIRUT, May 6 (Reuters) - Major parts of the Lebanese government’s plan for pulling the country out of a financial crisis will require new legislation, as will any deal with the IMF, a senior MP said on Wednesday, signalling that those parts will still require debate in parliament.

Ibrahim Kanaan, the chairman of parliament’s budget and financial affairs commission, also told Reuters the committee was reviewing the plan and would propose amendments.

Prime Minister Hassan Diab said on Wednesday that the rescue plan, which his cabinet approved last week, was not sacred and could evolve. The blueprint, entailing vast losses in the country’s financial system, will form the basis of negotiations with the International Monetary Fund.

Lebanon is seeking IMF help and wants to restructure around $90 billion in debt to tackle a fiscal crisis that has prompted a sovereign default, sent the local currency into a tailspin and fuelled public unrest.

“A major part of the plan - if it is going to be executed - needs laws,” Kanaan said.

This would apply to the proposed restructuring of the banking sector, the central bank and the public debt, he said, as well as to any changes in taxation and any deal with the IMF.

In recent months, the Lebanese pound has lost more than half its value as dollars grow ever more scarce. Inflation, unemployment and poverty have soared. (Reporting by Tom Perry; Writing by Ellen Francis; Editing by Hugh Lawson)

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