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6 May, 2021 14:34

Cash-strapped Lebanon could go dark this month as money for electricity runs low, says influential MP

Cash-strapped Lebanon could go dark this month as money for electricity runs low, says influential MP

The chairman of the Works Committee in Lebanon has warned that the country may be plunged into darkness in the coming weeks as money to buy fuel runs out, urging lawmakers to make resources available.

Speaking on Thursday, Nazih Negm, the Works Committee chairman and a member of parliament, urged the Constitutional Council to expedite a decision to provide funding for the country’s electricity needs. 

“We hope that the Constitutional Council will not take a month to issue a decision, because the situation is intolerable,” he was quoted as saying by local media. 

Negm warned that, unless action is taken soon, the country will start to run out of power in mid-May.

It is very necessary to accelerate the appeal process, whether negative or positive. We must not forget that starting from May 15, the darkness will gradually begin.

He added that he had spoken with the Finance Ministry and they had agreed to look for a temporary solution. In March, the country’s parliament approved a $200 million emergency loan to be allocated for fuel imports for power generation. However, the loan is yet to receive final approval.

The parliament’s approval in March came after the energy minister said there was no more money for imports beyond the end of the month. Lebanon had shut one of its four main electricity-producing facilities, the Zahrani power plant, after it ran out of fuel. 

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It was reported in April that Lebanon had received around $200 million worth of heavy fuel from Iraq in exchange for in-kind services, such as medical expertise. 

The country’s economic collapse has been worsened by political upheaval, with Lebanon’s leaders unable to form a working government.

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