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Lebanon approves long-awaited economic rescue plan after months of unrest

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The Lebanese government on Thursday approved a long-awaited plan to rescue the economy from its worst crisis in decades following a fresh wave of angry street protests this week. 

Nationwide protests broke out in October accusing the country's political class of corruption and mismanagement.

The plan drawn up by Lebanese Prime Minister Hassan Diab's government comes as mounting hardship fuels a new wave of deadly unrest.

Announcing the plan on Thursday, Diab said his government would use it to apply for an International Monetary Fund (IMF) programme to help the economy through an acute crisis that could last up to five years.

"If we get (IMF support), and God willing we will, it will help us to pass through this difficult economic phase, which could be three, four or five years," Diab said.
The rescue plan would help “build the Lebanon of tomorrow”, said Diab in a televised speech to the nation. 

The economic strains amplified by the pandemic has led the Lebanese Central Bank to call on the country’s banks and financial institutions to grant extraordinary Lebanese pound or US dollar loans to clients to cover previous loan installments. 

The government’s rescue plan aims to protect depositors' money but will seek a contribution from those who benefited from extremely high interest rates and financial engineering and those who stole public funds.

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