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Livelihoods: Health care at risk, tampering at the petrol stations, but internet services safe for now

15-1-2020

The caretaker health minister, Jamil Jabak, announced yesterday that he reached a temporary solution to the impasse related to the import of medical equipment by settling the dollar exchange rate which allows importers and hospitals to survive and continue. Yet, Al Akhbar daily reported that Jabak did not clarify how to apply this solution when the majority of Lebanese banks refuse to comply with the Banque du Liban’s governor’s directive to open credits in hard currency for medical suppliers, while hospitals’ syndicate president, Suleiman Harun revealed that he will soon inform the guarantor funds that hospitals can no longer perform surgeries that involve medical equipment’s, adding that he crisis is seriously jeopardizing the health sector and needs an exigent intervention on part of the central bank On the other hand, the caretaker minister of energy, Nada Bustani, promised the head of the Syndicate of Owners of Petrol Stations, Sami Brax, to persuade petroleum importing companies to deliver fuel in exchange for payment in Lebanese lira only. For his part, the minister of economy, Bteish, issued a circular warning owners of petrol stations of any tampering with the meters on pumps. Concerning Ogero’s threat that Lebanon is at risk of being disconneted from the global web by the end of March 2020 if the requisite dollars to maintain internet connectivity were not secured, Ogero chairman, Imad Kreidieh, said this is out of the question at least for the next six months! Likewise, while the former Ogero director, Abdel Monem Yousef, denied the inability of the country to pay, An Nahar newspaper said the transaction is made through an Ogero account in USD at the Investments Department at Banque du Liban, adding that dues are paid to companies in dollars without any difficulties. (Al Akhbar, An Nahar, Al Diyar, January 15, 2020)

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