BEIRUT: A senior member of the Lebanese team negotiating with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) abruptly resigned on Monday in a sign of the difficulties that the talks face.
Alain Bifani, the director general at the Ministry of Finance, left his post in protest at the handling of the crisis.
At a press conference after his resignation, Bifani defended the government’s approach, saying that it “developed a correct evaluation, was approved unanimously, and was welcomed by financial institutions.”
“I chose to resign because I refuse to be a partner or witness to the collapse, and patience no longer works today,” he said.
Bifani launched a strong attack on “the forces of darkness and injustice who have joined together to terminate what we have done, so we reached a dead end where the risk ratio rose to a level that could no longer be dealt with silently.”
Economists believe that the interference of the Lebanese parliament is “supporting the banking and the Central Bank’s alliance against the government’s plan to prevent the banking sector from burdening a part of the losses it does not want to bear.”
Bifani said: “The Lebanese are being subjected to a haircut as a result of the failure to implement the government’s plan and not the other way around. The bad faith insults, modifies, and falsifies the facts to deny the facts. It is not true that the plan aims to cut off the depositors.”
The government has failed to implement a series of promised reforms to revitalize the economy which the IMF insists are a condition for providing financial assistance to Lebanon.
The Lebanese parliament had criticized the government’s approach to the talks.
Lebanon has been facing an acute economic crisis for seven months that led to the collapse of the Lebanese pound, the escalation of the dollar’s exchange rate on the black market to 8,000 LBP on Monday and a sharp rise in unemployment rates, which has forced the country to default on its sovereign debt for the first time.
The UN Special Coordinator in Lebanon, Jan Kubis, expressed his regret at Bifani’s resignation.
He said: “Bifani is an internationally recognized expert, and his resignation is a loss for Lebanon during the broad crisis that is getting more severe in the country.”