Lebanese Bank Governor’s Reckless Step: A Move towards the Total Collapse
By Mohammad Yousef
Central Bank Governor Riad Salameh's decision to lift subsidies off fuel imports pushed the whole country further into a very dangerous position.
The decision represents an illegal, reckless and irresponsible step as the people suffers from host of shortages in basics with skyrocketing prices and devaluation of the Lebanese currency.
The fuel is probably the most important vital commodity. It affects people’s life greatly as it covers many vital areas of every day’s life like hospitals, bakeries, universities, schools, water and electricity supplies and many others.
This brought the whole country into a total paralysis and will bring it closer to the verge of collapse unless the concerned parties take the necessary measures to stop this or alleviate its impact on people’s life.
Lay people and officials know that subsidies will not continue forever especially under the deteriorating situation in all levels, but such a decision cannot be taken the way Salameh did. He removed the government support onetime and without considering that the necessary precautionary measures have been put into implementation. Many parties have suggested that every poor family receives a certain limited amount of supported fuel, for example, 80 liters per month. Moreover, the long awaited for financial support card has not been yet put into effect.
Such necessary measures would have eased the exacerbating crisis and rendered the step possible to swallow by people. However, the governor has chosen to lift the fuel subsidies abruptly and without any prior notice. This has all happened at a time when vice Prime Minister Zeina Akar announced that this was not going to take place.
The governor’s decision says a lot and gives very alarming indications about the way the country is run at this stage.
First, the step reflects the total detachment of the ruling class from the people and their sufferings.
Second, it gives an alarm that the ruling oligarchy decided that the correction of the current crisis is being put on the burden of the doomed and most impoverished people.
Third, it assures that the governor acts at his utmost liberty without waiting for any legal or political coverage.
What does all this tell?
It simply announces that we are hastily heading towards the great crash or the collapse of the state. Many scenes of the Venezuelan scenario are already here.
People are endlessly queuing for many vital daily needs like gasoline, cooking gas, medications, and recently children milk and bread. The whole country is in total chaos and the people are disoriented about what happened and about what to do, or where to go to find a solution or at least an alleviation of their suffering.
The international community and the powerful countries like the US , France, Britain and their allies in the Arab world are watching but not taking concrete tangible steps to help though they know it is within their reach, why? Because they are investing in our misery, and this is not a conspiracy theory that aims at directing the blame on Washington and its allies. We know that country’s corruption is the number one culprit, but they knew it and accepted it and continued to deal normally with it and now they want to strip Lebanon from its last point of strength represented by its triumphant resistance to dictate their conditions in politics and economy and to gain with their mounting blockade and economic pressure what they failed to do with their military campaigns. They need to know they are pining hopes over illusion. This cannot and will not be.
Now, as the endeavors and efforts to form a government have reached a very advanced stage, probably in the near coming days, hopes are rising that this mandatory step would usher in a significant effort to start a robust and wise rescue planned effort and represents the first step in the one thousand mile trip to put things back on track.