Najib Mikati to CNN: We will lift subsidies on commodities, except for medicines, and most of their allocations have been misused.

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (CNN)– The new Lebanese Prime Minister, Najib Mikati, said in an exclusive interview with CNN anchor Becky Anderson, that the majority of the more than $10 billion in support allocations have been misused in Lebanon over the past year.

The Lebanese government raised fuel prices by more than 37% on Friday, as the country continued to lift subsidies on imports in a bid to attract international cash aid.

Mikati told CNN: “The support is almost being lifted because we don’t have more liquidity or reserves to support oil or other commodities.”

Mikati added, “We will keep subsidizing medicines, but subsidies for other commodities will be lifted.”

Mikati explained that 74% of the $10 billion in subsidies was misused over the past year.

Mikati considered it important to lift support for starting negotiations with the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and the international community.

Fuel subsidies in Lebanon, which have long been seen as a lifeboat for the country’s growing number of poor, began to stop last month, in a move that was expected to happen, and the Lebanese have been preparing for since the beginning of the economic crisis in 2019.

With a financial deterioration in the country’s foreign exchange reserves, officials have warned that the support funds, which have protected the population from the full effects of the crisis, are unsustainable.

But the poorly managed financial meltdown, which the World Bank has dubbed an “intentional depression,” means the country is less prepared than ever to deal with the consequences of liberalizing fuel prices.


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