Facade government program

The government estimated the losses based on budgets, so its estimates differed between the successive versions of its program, and formula No. 41 adopted the number 83 billion dollars, while formula No. 42 reduced the number to 63 billion dollars! However, the estimation of the cumulative needs for external financing over the five years of the program remained constant at the same level (27-28 billion dollars), with the expectation of Formula No. 41 a gradual slide of the exchange rate from 3000 Lebanese pounds per dollar to 3,500 pounds between 2020 and 2024, while the estimates of Formula No. 42 ranged between 2,500 and 4,300 Lebanese pounds per dollar.

In light of the government’s confusion, the Governor of Banque du Liban issued circulars, imposing a set of measures that were capable of toppling several governments in any normal country. He transferred deposits in foreign currencies to the Lebanese pound and took all the liquidity of the banks, as well as seized transfers in foreign currencies received from abroad through money transfer companies, imposed credit and debit interest rates, rescheduled loans for the private sector, created several exchange rates according to the types of operations and customer categories, and proceeded to control currency exchange rates, relying on attracting an influx of money from expatriates. At a time when banks did not adhere to neutrality, and while the bankers felt the danger of losing their capital and the ownership of their institutions after they were unable to comply with the circulars of Banque du Liban, which obligated them to increase their own funds by injecting new funds, the GS-I consultant office produced a plan for the Association of Banks entitled “Contribution in the financial recovery plan of the Lebanese government. This report concluded that the Lebanese state must pay the losses that it caused its accumulation, and the report also suggested transferring public property, estimated at $40 billion, to a “debt liquidation fund,” whether or not this fund would issue long-term bonds based on its assets in an amount equal to the total of these assets. The state transfers the interests of those bonds to Banque du Liban in exchange for writing off its debt.