Despite the government’s attempt to crack down on illicit trading, Lebanon’s currency collapse has accelerated and with it the economy and people’s living standards. It appears the Lebanese people have had enough, and widespread protests pose the biggest threat to the nation’s stability since the 1975-1990 civil war…
Lebanon is heavily reliant on imports, particularly of commodities and consumer goods, and recent price surges have worsened the situation for an already beleaguered population, now living under the specter of potential widespread hunger.
“We are hungry. It is that simple. That is why we are taking part here,” said one protester
Additionally, as RT reports, Lebanese Energy Minister Raymond Ghajar said that cash to fund power generation was running out, warning that the country may be plunged into darkness by April.
As the currency crashed, bank runs began…
And as the961.com reports, President Michel Aoun and attended by senior officials, several decisions were taken to combat the exchange rate issues. Aoun has tasked security forces with arresting everyone who violates the provisions of the Currency and Credit Law and the law regulating the money exchange profession, including both licensed and unlicensed money changers who practice speculation.
“Illegal and suspicious practices” have led to the loss of cash deposits, the statement continued, adding that people’s money should not be wasted through “illegal speculation” and “suspicious transfers abroad.”
He has also tasked them to continue closing local illegal electronic platforms and groups that determine the prices of the U.S. dollar against the Lebanese pound.
But the Lebanese Pound – nicknamed ‘Lira’ now – has continued collapsing. Despite the official rate of 1,500 pounds to the USDollar, the ‘lira’ is trading hands on the black market at over 12,500 to the USDollar – erasing over 85% of its purchasing power in a year…
Lebanon’s precarious economic situation was greatly exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic, with the massive explosion at the Beirut port facility in August 2020 adding further insult to injury, marking a significant tragedy for the country and compounding a lack of confidence in the government.
French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, who has led international efforts to bring the country back from the brink, gave a stark assessment of the reality facing its population. “I do believe that it is still not too late, but we’re running out of time before total collapse.”