Caretaker Finance Minister Youssef Khalil said that replacing the Governor of the Banque du Liban, Riad Salameh, who has held the position for three decades, will be difficult, and his term may be extended, although no consensus has been reached on this yet.
Salama had confirmed this month that he “will not seek a new term,” while his current six-year term ends next July.
“There is no consensus yet,” Khalil said in an interview with “Reuters”, in response to a question about whether discussions about a possible successor had begun, noting that the current political climate in Lebanon makes it particularly difficult to make such a major change.
And he continued, on the sidelines of the World Government Summit in Dubai a few days ago, that there is a plan to extend the terms of all first-level public service employees, not just safety, but there is no consensus on that yet.
Khalil also said that the agreement with the International Monetary Fund remains a priority, even if it does not enjoy the support of some, acknowledging that the agreement does not enjoy the support of all the Lebanese, but he stressed the importance of building confidence and putting Lebanon on the path to recovery.
Khalil pointed out that he faced what he described as “serious resistance when he tried to officially devalue the local currency a few months ago,” noting that “the government is still planning to unify the exchange rate and move to collect taxes and fees on the basis of a price closer to the parallel market.”
He continued: Parliament still intends to pass the capital controls law after years of delay as a way to protect banks from lawsuits, which he described as very huge, and to keep foreign currency in the country.
And he added that the level of confidence in the Lebanese banking system is very low, indicating that he believes that the way to build that confidence lies in an agreement with the IMF.