(Refiles to reinstate dropped word “half” in final paragraph)
BEIRUT, June 4 (Reuters) - Lebanon will decide on one approach on figures it is presenting in IMF negotiations, the presidency said on Thursday, seeking to reconcile different approaches taken by the government and central bank for assessing losses in the financial system.
After a meeting grouping the president, prime minister, finance minister and central bank governor, the presidency said agreement was reached on the “necessity of unifying the numbers according to one approach”.
“A meeting will be held on Monday to decide on the numbers in order to facilitate the negotiations” with the IMF, upon which Lebanon is counting to claw its way out of a financial crisis seen as the biggest threat to its stability since the 1975-1990 civil war.
The U.N. special coordinator for Lebanon, Jan Kubis, has said the discrepancy between the government and the central bank’s figures, along with other factors, “only weaken” the country’s position in the IMF talks which began last month.
A government economic recovery plan maps out vast holes in the financial system including losses of $83 billion in the banking system. But the plan was rejected by the country’s commercial banking association, which said it was not consulted.
The banking association then came up with its own contribution to the recovery plan, which the government welcomed while saying there were issues that would need to be reconciled between the two sides.
The financial crisis exploded last year as capital inflows slowed and protests erupted against the ruling elite. The local currency has since lost more than half its value as unemployment and inflation soar and savers have been largely frozen out of their deposits. (Reporting by Ellen Francis and Tom Perry Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)