Lebanon Businessnews News

Alain Bifani resigns as
Director General of Finance
Second resignation from team negotiating with IMF
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Alain Bifani, Director General of Finance at the Ministry of Finance (MoF) has resigned. He has been in his position since 2000. In that capacity, he was also a member of the Central Council (board of directors) of the Central Bank (BDL).

Bifani was part of the government’s team negotiating with the International Monetary Fund (IMF). He said that the way Lebanese leaders are handling the financial crisis is reckless and would hurt people.

Bifani said: “I have submitted my resignation because we have reached a dead end.” He said the risks have reached such high levels that he cannot remain silent anymore.

Bifani denied that the government’s financial recovery plan targets deposits. He warned from converting dollar deposits into liras by force or freezing deposits for a long time in order that they lose their value and become useless.

He said that the country is on the brink of witnessing the destruction of the low-income class and the collapse of the currency. According to Bifani, the plan that is being imposed on the Lebanese will weaken their purchasing power and impoverish them further. Unemployment will rise further and economic contraction will escalate, he said.

Bifani said: “Some people claim that we cannot recover the stolen money, but we can achieve this by lifting banking secrecy and uncovering [the owners] of real estate properties.”

Bifani’s resignation follows that of Henri Chaoul, another member of the negotiation team. According to a knowledgeable source, Chaoul, Bifani, and Georges Chalhoub, another advisor, had agreed to jointly submit their resignations. Chaoul went first.

The government was subject to criticism in many political quarters and by economists that its financial plans were being directed by advisors. Former minister Walid Jumblatt had criticized Bifani: “In Finance, there is an influential manager messing with numbers in order to bring failure to talks with international bodies. In the administration, spiteful advisors are roaming,” he said.

Chaoul had stepped down from his position as advisor to the Minister of Finance in the negotiations with the IMF because of what he characterized as lack of a genuine will by the political class to implement reforms and to restructure the financial sector, including BDL.
Date Posted: Jun 29, 2020
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