Oct 28 2019 - 05:45

Jihad Azour to CNBC: Government needs to show a ‘resolve for the state to function’

IMF’s Middle East and Central Asia director Jihad Azour Lebanon, news ,lbci ,أخبار Economy, Protests, CNBC,Lebanon,IMF’s Middle East and Central Asia director Jihad Azour
Jihad Azour to CNBC: Government needs to show a ‘resolve for the state to function’
Lebanon News

The International Monetary Fund’s director for the Middle East and Central Asia said that Lebanon’s leaders need to win back the confidence of its citizenry not by announcing reforms, but by actually implementing them properly.


In an interview with CNBC’s Hadley Gamble in Dubai ahead of the Fund’s release of its quarterly regional outlook , Jihad Azour stated that “the people are suffering because of the low level of growth, the fact that there is low employment.”


Azour’s advice comes amid the country’s largest protests in 14 years.


Azour, who previously served as Lebanon’s minister of finance from 2005 to 2008, said that if the government dedicates itself to executing functional governance, it will translate into better services and job creation.


“Therefore, I think it’s very important now to stabilize the financial situation by addressing the fiscal imbalances, by providing clear direction of reforms that addresses some of the long lasting issues, the structural problems, and also to show that there is a resolve to have the state function to service the needs and aspirations of the people in the street,” he said.


Lebanon’s banks remain closed eleven days into the protests.


Asked if popular anger at the central bank is warranted, Azour replied, “It’s not for me to answer this question.” But he stressed the urgency of the Mediterranean country’s financial situation, something he said the IMF is “observing closely.”


“Lebanon has been suffering for a long period of twin deficits, budget deficit and current account deficit, with the backdrop of a very low level of growth that was not able to create enough jobs,” Azour said. “Therefore, what is needed today is a very strong and convincing reform package that restores confidence most of its citizens, investors and international community.”



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