The Lebanese National Bloc Party noted that the “sectarian parties” in power are adopting their same old approach of quotas and corruption in dealing with the Corona Virus pandemic, showing their utter lack of sympathy. The Bloc considered that some of those parties boasting about the aid they are providing shows that the virus can also affect morals.
In a statement, the Bloc said that the different ministries have taken preventative health, social, and financial measures, some of which are correct. However, those measures are not based on a complete and integrated plan extending to the various aspects of the crisis and coordinating with the various state agencies and decision centers. Each ministry is proposing its own measures without taking into consideration its place within an overall plan, as if each ministry is a government in itself.
The Bloc noted decision taken by the governor of the “Banque du Liban” to give loans to banks in US Dollars and at a 0% interest so that the banks can in turn give loans to businesses and individuals. The Bloc questioned the decision of lending to the banks in US Dollars: the banks will be issuing loans in Lebanese Pounds, forcing the businesses to buy US Dollars from money exchange at exorbitant fees in order to import their needs, and citizens have to pay for consumer goods in the Lebanese currency which has lost about 70% of its purchase value. Additionally, where will the exchange offices get the great amount of US Dollars needed? The “Central Bank” giving the banks loans in US Dollars is a ploy to erase its obligation to provide this hard currency to the banks, all at the expense of hard currency depositors who will receive Lebanese currency in its stead at the official exchange rate.
The Bloc stressed that the state of economic emergency that is in place because of the mandatory quarantine is associated with the financial and economic crisis that has been going on for the last 30 years; a crisis that was caused by the systematic bankruptcy of the state. These crises require the formation of financial teams that are independent from the parties in power, instead we have a team that is supposedly emerging by appointing the deputies of the “Banque du Liban” governor, members of the “Banking Supervision Committee” and the “Financial Markets Authority” as well as the Commissioner of the government to the Central Bank: this will only lead to a quota “bazaar” that will eliminate the appointment of any proficient candidates. Even if proficient candidates are appointed, their work would be limited by the narrow utilitarian views of the majority of appointees and they will not be able to act independently to do what is necessary to save the economy.
The National Bloc denounced the actions of the sectarian parties that boasted of offering services that in fact only constitute a small amount of the misappropriations of public money they are responsible for. The Lebanese people’s money was taken by corruption and the quota systems that have aborted the birth of a state that serves all its citizens indiscriminately.
In the time of panic, no citizen at the brink of death can afford to turn down assistance, even if this assistance comes out of his or her own pocket. However, in the time of pandemic and danger, it is shameful to boast publicly and through all types of media about the aid that is being given, and to shamelessly market the parties’ actions with the goal of getting votes.
On the other hand, the Bloc saluted the efforts of citizens, and the silent work of NGOs and civil society movements, stressing the innovation of Lebanese industry in manufacturing respirators at competitive prices or to be donated for free; this at a time while the Ministry of Health has yet to issue a tender to purchase these devices from abroad by next Tuesday!