Hariri: Lebanese Banks Ready to Help Govt., Reform is Key for Change
Prime Minister Saad Hariri said that the government is committed to fight corruption and squander, and is determined to carry out the necessary reforms for the benefit of the Lebanese citizen and public finance. He added that banks and the Central Bank Governor Riad Salameh would be ready to help.
Hariri expressed these stances during the opening ceremony of the Arab Banking Conference for 2019 entitled “Economic Reforms and Governance” that he sponsored at the Phoenicia Hotel, at the invitation of the Union of Arab Banks, the Central Bank and the Association of Banks in Lebanon.
He said: “We in Lebanon sometimes suffer from campaigns that make people feel desperate. The successful organizations and successful people, like Riad Salameh or the (state-owned) Middle East Airline or other Lebanese institutions, are always under attack because they are successful. We want to carry out the necessary reforms for the benefit of the Lebanese citizen and public finance and this is what is happening now.
“In the end, what concerns me is this reform. I do not have a problem with who takes the credit for reform. What is important is that these reforms get implemented.”
Addressing Governor Riad Salameh, he said: “I reiterate my congratulations to you. The banks supported Lebanon during delicate stages. The problem is that the state did not implement the reforms it should have. For example, the Paris II Conference was held with a package of reforms that should have been implemented but sadly didn’t. The governorate and the banks did their job and gave the state 10 000 billion Lebanese pounds with an interest rate of 0.2, on the basis that reforms will be made. But these reforms were not applied.”
Hariri stressed that the State should not resort to Lebanese banks or the governorate of the Central Bank before carrying out its duties.
“I am confident the banking sector will be ready to help us, just as it did in Paris II,” he said noting that efforts are focused now on discussing the state budget before it is referred to Parliament.
“I am totally confident that the President and the Speaker are very keen to apply austerity measures, stop the squander, fight corruption and develop our laws in the necessary manner,” the PM concluded.