New Lebanon PM seeks ‘fast fixes’ to assist the nation

New Lebanon PM seeks 'quick fixes' to help the country


In his first interview with a world media outlet since forming a authorities per week in the past, Mikati acknowledged that some Lebanese would battle to place their religion in him and his authorities after so many politicians have failed them up to now.

But, he informed Source, it’s “time to have a government” to take choices and finish the nation’s political vacuum, earlier than elections which are deliberate for subsequent May.

“I’m doing the quick, the quick fixes that (need) to be done immediately, especially energy, health, education, work and transparency, and show the Lebanese that there is a governance. There is a transparency. That’s what we are trying to do. And hopefully it will take,” he stated. He didn’t make clear how he would perform these fixes.

Mikati, a billionaire who served beforehand as caretaker prime minister in 2005 and 2011, heads a cupboard that can preside over an financial melancholy which the World Bank considers one of many world’s worst for the reason that mid-19th century.

And whereas there are new faces within the authorities, many have been handpicked by the identical political institution and teams blamed for the corruption that led to the nation’s financial breakdown.

One of probably the most pressing financial points dealing with the brand new authorities is the nation’s costly subsidies program.

The Lebanese authorities elevated oil costs by greater than 37% on Friday, because the nation continues eradicating subsidies on imports in an try to draw worldwide financial help.

The choice is anticipated to extend costs for the Lebanese individuals, who’re already fighting hovering poverty ranges.

But in accordance with Mikati, some 74% of greater than $10 billion {dollars} in subsidies was “misused by traders, by corrupt people” in Lebanon over the previous 12 months — and this system is unsustainable.

“The subsidies are almost lifted because we don’t have any more cash or reserves to subsidize oil or other commodities,” Mikati informed Source. “We are going to keep the subsidies on medicine, but subsidies on other commodities will be lifted.”

It is essential to finish the subsidies to begin negotiations with the International Monetary Fund, World Bank and the worldwide group, Mikati stated.

Lebanon’s Central Bank issued a press release final month saying that the gas subsidies had been being exploited by companies. Around $800 million was paid in import subsidies in July alone, but gas shortages had been nonetheless rampant.

Mikati: Hezbollah can’t be bypassed

Lebanon has spent 13 months and not using a absolutely fashioned authorities since former PM Hassan Diab stepped down after a lethal explosion ripped by Beirut’s port final 12 months.

It is now in want of help from the Arab world, Mikati stated.

A year after the Beirut blast, survivors are still grieving, still angry, and still waiting for justice

“Lebanon is a tiny small country in the Arab world, and we are looking for the big brother from all Arab countries to come take our hand, and to take Lebanon [out] from this mess,” Mikati stated. “A stable Lebanon will benefit the entire Arab world.”

Asked in regards to the presence of Hezbollah allies in his authorities, Mikati stated: “Hezbollah as a political party exists in Lebanon… I cannot bypass this party.”

Arab international locations have but to name Mikati for the reason that formation of his authorities final week, nevertheless he stays optimistic that he’ll obtain “a positive response,” Mikati stated.

The Prime Minister added that he had obtained calls from members of the US administration up to now week, all of whom had been supportive of his authorities, however that US President Joe Biden had not referred to as him.

On Thursday, Hezbollah paraded tankers full of Iranian gas in Lebanon’s Bekaa valley in defiance of US sanctions. However, Mikati stated that gas cargo was not accepted by the Lebanese authorities.

“The Lebanese government didn’t approve this … so I don’t believe Lebanese government would be subject to any sanctions,” he stated.

Meanwhile, greater than a 12 months after the port blast, there are nonetheless many unanswered questions about what led to the tragedy.

Mikati reiterated that he’s calling for a world investigation into the explosion. “I cannot say who, but definitely there is someone to blame,” he stated.

Source’s Tamara Qiblawi contributed to this report.

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