Prime Minister Saad Hariri’s new government hit the ground running Monday in its first week since earning the confidence vote of more than 85 percent of the country’s lawmakers.
To kick-start his work, Hariri held a two-and-a-half-hour meeting with the International Financial Institutions, looking at the steps needed to accelerate the implementation of decisions made at CEDRE.
World Bank Regional Director Saroj Kumar Jha said the pledges – upward of $12 billion in soft loans and grants – were not at risk.
“We look forward to working with the government of Lebanon to help implement the priority projects in various sectors in the economy,” he said.
Jha said that all the IFIs reconfirmed their support to Lebanon of the implementation of the Capital Investment Plan, and discussed the projects they will support. “This is very positive news for the country.”
The meeting gathered representatives of Arab, European and international funds and financial organizations that had pledged support to Lebanon at the CEDRE conference held in Paris last spring.
These included Jha and Nabil Jisr, the head of the Council of Development and Reconstruction.
A senior adviser to Hariri, Nadim Munla, said the meeting was in part aimed at making sure all sectors received substantial funding for projects.
“The other objective of the meeting was to agree with them on speeding up the process of approving and implementation of the projects. At the end of the meeting, we agreed on several steps to expedite the period between identifying a project and starting to spend on it – so it is 12 to 15 months,” Munla said after the meeting. “They also expressed their readiness to provide additional aid if Lebanon carries out the reforms mentioned in the ministerial statement.”
Playing down fears that the aid would be misused, Munla noted a new law for tenders.
He cited as another example the fact that any “loan that comes from the World Bank is subject to the control of the World Bank.”
The Daily Star