Health Minister Says Baby Milk to be Subsidized by BDL

Baby milk has been added to the list of essential imports subsidized by Lebanon’s central bank, Health Minister Hamad Hasan announced on Friday.

“An agreement has been reached with Lebanon’s central bank (Banque du Liban) on adding infant formula to the list of items subsidized by the bank,” Hasan said in a statement issued by his office.

“Accordingly, the Ministry of Public Health will begin implementing the new standards for the pricing of baby milk in Lebanon for ages ranging from zero to 12 months,” the statement said.

“The price will not exceed LBP 12,000 for ordinary milk and LBP 13,200 for milk with a special formula,” the statement added.

In September 2019, the central bank said it would facilitate access to dollars for importers of petroleum products, wheat and medicine amid a dollar shortage crisis in the country.

"Banks that issue letters of credit for the importation of petroleum products (petrol, fuel oil and gas), wheat and medicine will be able to ask the Banque du Liban to ensure the value of such credits in U.S. dollars," the central bank said.

The mechanism requires that a "special account" be opened at the central bank, and at least 15 percent of the value of the credit be deposited in it in U.S. dollars, as well as the full value in Lebanese pounds, it said, adding that the central bank would take 0.5 percent from each transaction.

Lebanon is grappling with a free-falling economy and an escalating liquidity crisis.

The dollar exchange rate in the parallel market has shot up from the pegged rate of 1,507 pounds to the greenback to around 2,200.

Banks have meanwhile imposed restrictions on withdrawals and transfers.

Source: Naharnet

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