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Lebanon's caretaker PM says economic stability at stake with stalled laws

A financial meltdown that started in 2019 has weakened the currency by more than 90%, paralysed the financial system and frozen depositors out of their savings.

Reuters
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A view shows renovated buildings in Beirut, Aug 1. Photo: Reuters
A view shows renovated buildings in Beirut, Aug 1. Photo: Reuters

Lebanon's failure to approve a string of crucial economic laws to pull the country back on to its feet threatens the country's future economic stability, caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati said on Thursday.

A financial meltdown that started in 2019 has weakened the currency by more than 90%, paralysed the financial system and frozen depositors out of their savings. The government estimates the financial sector's losses at over US$70 billion (about RM325.6 billion).

Mikati said parliament should convene a special session that passes, in one package, long-pending plans to revamp the financial sector and help overcome a crisis.

"All these need solutions immediately - if they are not resolved and the parliament does not convene and make it all some kind of one package to be decided on, there won't be economic stability in the country," he said in parliament after a session could not be convened for lack of a quorum.

Mikati said the failure to take action would push Lebanon "from one crisis to another".

If the status quo continues, public debt could reach 547% of GDP by 2027, the IMF said recently.

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