Lebanon's Finance Ministry Director-General Resigns Amid Talks With IMF

Alain Bifani said his resignation is due to the 'reckless' manner in which the leaders are dealing with financial crisis

Alain Bifani, who is a senior member of Lebanon's team negotiating with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), resigned from the post of finance ministry director-general. He said that his resignation is based on the manner in which the leaders are dealing with the financial crisis.

Bifani became the second member of Lebanon's team negotiating with the IMF, to resign from their post this month. His resignation was confirmed by the country's finance ministry.

"Reckless" Path Being Taken By Leaders

He told al-Jadeed the path being taken by Lebanese leaders was reckless and would hurt the people. Reuters could not immediately reach him for comment. The Western Asian nation of Lebanon is grappling with a financial crisis seen as the biggest threat to its stability since the 1975-90 civil war.

Lebanon Flag
Lebanon Flag Pixabay

Talks with the IMF which began in May have been bogged down by a row between the government and the central bank over the scale of losses in the financial system and how they should be shared.

Populist Agenda Taking Precedence

Bifani also told al-Jadeed that "our approach and our numbers are correct", in an apparent reference to a government financial recovery plan submitted to the IMF. The IMF has said the government's figures appear to be roughly the correct order of magnitude but that Beirut needed to reach a common understanding to move forward.

Earlier this month, financial adviser Henri Chaoul quit Lebanon's IMF team, saying politicians, monetary authorities, and the financial sector were 'opting to dismiss the magnitude' of losses and embark on a 'populist agenda'.

The numbers have met opposition from the central bank, the banking sector and a parliamentary fact-finding committee that has challenged the losses and assumptions.

(With inputs from agencies)