Exclusive: Details of French Reform Proposal for Lebanon

Exclusive: Details of French Reform Proposal for Lebanon

Beirut, Lebanon – During a visit to Lebanon, French President Emmanuel Macron has offered significant assistance to the crisis-stricken nation if its politicians do well in the long-pending reforms.

Greater Lebanon was declared 100 years ago by colonial France, where, speaking at the French ambassador’s palace, Macron said on Tuesday that he would support international aid at an October donor conference aimed at rebuilding the capital after a devastating bombing last month. Will rally. The economic death of the country.

But “we will not give Lebanon a cart-blank or a blank check,” he said, adding that everything depends on whether the country’s extremist leaders can unite around change.

Lebanon was plunged into an economic crisis before the August 4 bombings, which killed at least 190 people, injured more than 6,000 and damaged large parts of Beirut.

Its government was seeking 20 billion in financial aid, half from an International Monetary Fund (IMF) program and half from development funds, pledged by a host of donor nations at a 2018 donor conference. Was. An additional ਹੁਣ 5 billion is now needed for Beirut’s reconstruction and humanitarian assistance.

Macron said Lebanese leaders had promised to form a government within 15 days, after which a number of reforms should be implemented within one to three months.

Ahead of Tuesday’s meetings, the French embassy distributed a “draft program for a new government” to the heads of political groups, which Al Jazeera has received.

The French draft proposals received grim details of public policy in Lebanon, outlining some laws and projects and omitting others.

Here are the key points:

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Covid-19 and the humanitarian situation

  • The government will develop and disseminate a coronavirus epidemic control plan “which includes assistance to the most vulnerable”.

  • This will strengthen the social security net for the population.

After the Beirut bombings

  • The government will facilitate humanitarian assistance – and the distribution provided by the international community. Coordinated by the United Nations – in a “fast, transparent and effective” manner.

  • It will implement a system of governance to allow the distribution of aid in a “transparent and searchable” manner.

  • It will begin reconstruction based on a needs assessment by the World Bank, the European Union and the United Nations, which has estimated the damage from an explosion of up to 6 4.6 billion.

  • The government will expedite tenders for the reconstruction of the port of Beirut in accordance with “fair” standards.

  • It will conduct an “impartial and independent investigation” of the port explosion, in collaboration with Lebanon’s international partners … enabling “to establish the full truth of the cause of the explosion” within a reasonable time.

Improvements

  • The government will regularly exchange views with civil society on its programs and reforms.

  • It will immediately resume stalled talks with the IMF and expeditiously approve the measures requested by the lender, including a capital control law and a “full audit” of central bank accounts.

  • Within 15 days of the government’s confidence in France’s proposal, the IMF

It proposes deadlines for sector-specific reforms.

Electric field

Within a month, the government:

  • Appoint the National Electricity Regulatory Authority in accordance with Rule 462/2002 “without any amendment”, and provide the authority with the resources to carry out its work.

  • Launch tenders for gas-fired power plants to fill Lebanon’s vast energy gap.

  • The “agenda” of the controversial Salata power plant project in its current form. The project is a movement of President Michelle Owen and her free patriotism Party Emphasized

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Within three months, the government:

  • Announce a timetable for raising electricity prices, “provided it affects the most financially affluent consumers”.

Capital control

Within a month:

  • Parliament must finalize and approve a draft law on capital control that must be “immediately implemented” for a period of four years after approval by the IMF.

Governance, judicial and financial rules

Within a month, the government:

  • Hold a meeting to follow the 2018 Donors Conference in which the international community pledged 11 11 billion in soft loans, and launched a website dedicated to following projects, finances and related reforms.

  • Fully judicial, financial and administrative appointments, including members of the Supreme Judicial Council, the Financial Market Supervisory Authority and regulatory bodies in the areas of electricity, telecommunications and civil aviation, “according to” transparency and capacity-based criteria. “

  • Approve a law on the independence of the judiciary in Parliament.

  • Start a study of Lebanon’s public administration by an “independent international organization” such as the World Bank or the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) “with a special office”.

Fight against corruption and smuggling

Within a month, the government:

  • Appoint members of the National Anti-Corruption Commission and provide it with the resources to begin its work.

  • Start the track to abide by the 1997 OECD treaty to tackle corruption.

  • Implement custom improvements with immediate effect.

Within three months, the government:

  • Establish “control gates” and strengthen surveillance at Beirut and Tripoli ports and Beirut airport, as well as other border crossings.

Public procurement reform

Within a month:

  • Parliament will draft, adopt and implement a bill on public procurement reforms.

  • The government will provide the necessary assistance to the High Council for Privatization in its human and financial capacity to carry out its functions.

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Public finance

Within a month:

  • “Prepare and vote on a reformist finance bill that clarifies the state of the accounts for the year 2020.”

By the end of the year:

  • Prepare and approve a “matching” budget for 2021.

Options

  • “The government will ensure that new legislative elections are held within a maximum of one year.”
  • “Electoral law will be reformed with the full participation of civil society, allowing Parliament to represent the aspirations of civil society.”

Later in Tuesday’s speech, however, Macron withdrew his proposal for a by-election, saying there was “no consensus” on early elections and that further reforms were a priority.

About the author: Muhammad Wayne

Wayne is a reporter who covers everything from oil trading to China's biggest conglomerates and technology companies. Originally from Chicago, he is a graduate of New York University's business and economic reporting program.

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