Lebanon Has Not Asked for IMF Programme, IMF Official Says

Authorities in Lebanon, which has one of the world’s highest debt to GDP ratios, have not asked the International Monetary Fund to provide funding, the IMF’s regional head told Reuters on Monday. Lebanon has some of the world’s worst debt and balance-of-payments ratios and recently spent more than nine months without a government it needed to enact long-overdue reforms, Reuters reported. Concern grew over the state of the economy and government finances as the impasse dragged on. But despite its problems, the government has avoided asking for IMF aid. The IMF does provides technical assistance to Lebanon and has regular policy consultations with the government. “We have helped them, for example, to set up a framework for investment management to make sure public investments are done properly,” said Jihad Azour, the IMF’s Middle East and Central Asia director. “But the Lebanese authorities did not request program funding.” Lebanon’s ability to dodge financial disaster has for years confounded critics. Read more