Lebanon signs central bank audit contract with A&M By Reuters

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Lebanon’s newly appointed Finance Minister Youssef Khalil appears to be like on throughout a handover ceremony in Beirut, Lebanon September 14, 2021. REUTERS/Mohamed Azakir

BEIRUT (Reuters) -Lebanon’s finance minister Youssef Khalil on Friday signed a brand new contract with restructuring consultancy Alvarez & Marsal (A&M) to hold out a forensic audit on the nation’s central financial institution, the ministry mentioned in a press release.

A&M will give an preliminary report back to the ministry inside 12 weeks of its staff beginning work, the ministry mentioned.

Lebanon is struggling one of many deepest financial depressions in trendy historical past. Three-quarters of its inhabitants is now categorised as poor by the United Nations and the native forex has misplaced 90% of its worth prior to now two years.

The plan for an audit, a key requirement for Lebanon to safe international help amid its monetary meltdown, hit a roadblock in November when A&M withdrew, saying it had not acquired the knowledge it wanted from the central financial institution.

Parliament then agreed in December to raise banking secrecy for one yr, amid a lot back-and-forth between Lebanese officers together with the ministry and the central financial institution over whether or not sure info might be disclosed.

The finance ministry mentioned in April the central financial institution had agreed handy over some paperwork.

Khalil, a former prime central financial institution official, was appointed finance minister as a part of a brand new cupboard cobbled collectively by Prime Minister Najib Mikati and President Michel Aoun after a yr of political impasse that has compounded the nation’s financial meltdown.

Mikati’s cupboard has mentioned it was dedicated to a resumption of talks with the Worldwide Financial Fund, pre-conditions for which embrace a restructuring of the banking sector and public debt.

Final yr’s IMF talks have been derailed when politicians and bankers disputed the size of economic losses mapped out in a monetary restoration plan drawn up by the then authorities.

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