Egypt's Sovereign Fund partners with Scatec, Fertiglobe to develop green hydrogen facility    IMF sees Egypt's government gross debt hitting 91.4% of GDP in 2021    Egypt to be listed on JP Morgan emerging bond index late January 2022    Egypt hosts regional conference of EU refugee agency EASO    SCOHRE sparks discussion on harm reduction, tobacco control    TikTok hits 1 billion monthly active users worldwide    Egypt to receive first of six high-trains from Spain's Talgo in mid-November    Healthy food brand Abu Auf plans Egypt IPO in Q2-2022    National Bank of Egypt wins licence to open Saudi Arabia branch    Egypt's iron and steel exports jump 197% in 8 months    Ethiopia halts work at its embassy in Egypt for 'economic reasons'    It's a bit frustrating to draw at home: Real Madrid keeper after Villarreal game    Russia says it's in sync with US, China, Pakistan on Taliban    Shoukry reviews with Guterres Egypt's efforts to achieve SDGs, promote human rights    Sudan says countries must cooperate on vaccines    Over 100 officials resign from Tunisia's main Islamist party    Johnson & Johnson: Second shot boosts antibodies and protection against COVID-19    Egypt to tax bloggers, YouTubers    Egyptian court bans use of mosques for political purposes    Brazil calls up 8 EPL players for World Cup qualifying    Refugees in fear as sentiment turns against them in Turkey    We mustn't lose touch: Muller after Bayern win in Bundesliga    Egypt records 36 new deaths from Covid-19, highest since mid June    Egypt sells $3 bln US-dollar dominated eurobonds    Sisi calls on House, Senate to commence second legislative sessions on 3, 5 October    Huawei Technologies has invested $10 mln over 5 years in innovation centres in Egypt    Gamal Hanafy's ceramic exhibition at Gezira Arts Centre is a must go    Italian Institute Director Davide Scalmani presents activities of the Cairo Institute for ITALIANA.IT platform    Qa'a play showing at Lycee El Horreya Theatre, Alexandria is a must go    Orange Egypt Introduces Amazon Prime Video    Tokyo Olympics: Cautious opening ceremony, shy start for Egyptians in competitions    Mallawi Museum in Upper Egypt holds recycling workshop for children during Eid Al-Adha    Egypt keen on stable tax policies to attract more investors: Finance Minister    Sudan declares state of emergency as water goes beyond Merowe Dam capacity    Niagara Falls illuminated in Egyptian flag to mark 23 July Revolution anniversary    Capital flows into EM keep recovering after March 2020 slump: Central Bank of Egypt    1 child orphaned every 12 seconds due to COVID-19-associated death: World Bank    Egypt, Japanese Olympic Committee discuss boosting sports cooperation    US emphasises AU's role in mediating Ethiopian damdispute    Ethiopia ready to resume dam talks with no legally binding agreements: Ethiopian official    Sunken city of Thônis-Heracleion in Egypt's Abu Qir bay yields new archaeological treasures    New films, concerts, and destinations for Eid Al-Adha holidays    Egypt, Oman discuss enhancing bilateral economic, investment relations    Al Ahly v Kaizer Chiefs: Cairo giants eye 10th CAF Champions League title    Tunisia hopes to have a UN role in resolving Egypt-Ethiopia dam dispute    APO Group enters new exclusive agreement with Getty Images on African press releases and images    On International Museum Day, Egypt opens two new museums at Cairo Airport    Old Cairo's Al-Fustat will be revamped on Egyptian President's directives    

Thank you for reporting!
This image will be automatically disabled when it gets reported by several people.

New government in Lebanon renews central bank audit
Published in Ahram Online on 17 - 09 - 2021

Lebanon's incoming finance minister signed a contract on Friday with a New-York-based company to conduct a forensic audit of the country's central bank, a key demand of the international community to restore confidence in the crisis-struck country.
Alvarez & Marsal had pulled out of an earlier deal late last year, complaining that after months of work it was not able to acquire the information it needed to conduct its audit. The withdrawal was a blow to calls for accountability in the country mired in decades of corruption which many consider a key reason for the economic meltdown.
A forensic audit has been a key demand by the International Monetary Fund and international donors who have said that they will not give money to Lebanon without major reforms to fight corruption and widespread waste in state institutions. Satisfying the demand was complicated by an internal power struggle between different groups in Lebanon who disagreed on the size of the financial problem and who is to blame.
Lebanon, meanwhile, struggled without a fully functional government for more than a year amid one of the world's worst economic and financial crises. A caretaker government advocated a forensic audit after the country defaulted on paying back its massive debt for the first time in 2020.
A new government was named earlier this month and reinstating the forensic audit was practically the first contract signed by Finance Minister Youssef El Khalil. A former central bank official since 1982, El Khalil was last the executive director of the central bank's financial operations department. According to his resume, the position allowed him to participate in formulating the bank's contribution to reform programs for Lebanon.
But there were concerns that little has changed to secure different results this time.
Mike Azar, an independent debt advisor, said problematic issues have not been addressed, such as securing direct access to the central bank's accounting, information technology systems and staff. There is no independent oversight of the audit. The fact that the current minister is a former central bank official appears to be a conflict of interest, Azar said.
``He should recuse himself from overseeing the audit,'' Azar said. ``If these issues are not addressed, the audit is unlikely to be successful.''
El Khalil's office said the company will present a report 12 weeks after it starts its audit. No date has been given for when they will begin.
The country's current economic and financial crisis, considered by the World Bank as one of the world's worst in the last 150 years, is rooted in decades of corruption and mismanagement. The small country of 6 million, including Syrian refugees, have been grappling with shortages of fuel, medicine and basic goods as foreign reserves dwindle and the economy contracts.
Cash-strapped, the new government said one of its priorities would be to lift subsidies on basic goods.
On Friday, the incoming minister of energy announced new price hikes for gasoline of nearly 40%. This raises the price of 20 liters of 95-octane gas to 174,300 Lebanese pounds, and 98-octane gas to 180,000 Lebanese pounds. That is between $116 and $120 respectively, according to the official rate.
But amid the economic crisis, the local currency has been in a free fall, and there are multiple exchange rates, including one set by the central bank to organize imports. The currency pegged for 30 years to the dollar at 1,500 Lebanese pounds now trades on the black market at ten times that rate.
Aside from supply shortage, the multiple exchange rates and imminent plans to lift subsidies caused massive hoarding, further adding to Lebanon's hardship. Long queues outside gas stations have often descended into chaos or violence and caused major traffic jams. Gas stations rationed the amount of gasoline they distributed. Prices of diesel for power generating, amid an almost non-existent national grid, have increased more than ten fold _ making it impossible for many families to secure electricity for themselves. Many businesses had to shut down.

Clic here to read the story from its source.