Bakeries, gas stations decry dollar scarcity

Conversions from Lebanese pounds have become increasingly difficult, as U.S dollars increasingly become a scarce commodity amid declining remittances and foreign investments.
by Annahar Staff

7 November 2019 | 18:07

Source: by Annahar

  • by Annahar Staff
  • Source: Annahar
  • Last update: 7 November 2019 | 18:07

Motorists pictured filling their cars at gas station in the capital Beirut (Annahar)

BEIRUT: Dollar liquidity in the Lebanese market, or lack thereof, continues making rounds after both the Syndicate of Bakeries and Gas Stations warned of possible shortages.

The Lebanese Syndicate of Gas Stations Owners argued Thursday that the Central Bank should intervene to secure the requisite dollars at the official rate of 1515 LBP to the dollar.

Conversions from Lebanese pounds have become increasingly difficult, as U.S dollars increasingly become a scarce commodity amid declining remittances and foreign investments.

Banks have shown an extreme reluctance to issue dollars as Lebanon grapples with its biggest financial crisis since the end of the civil war in 1990.

Bakeries, meanwhile, accuse wheat importers of hiking their prices in the midst of the crisis calling on officials to intervene to avoid increasing costs on the end consumer.

Currency exchange offices meanwhile, which has surged in recent months, have been charging near the 1600 mark in some cases. This, according to both syndicates, has manifested itself in an increased cost.

The Syndicate of Gas Stations called on a swift resolution "in the coming hours" to avoid any disruption. Gas stations have gone on strike a number of occasions recently.

Lebanon's Syndicate of Hospitals also announced a soft strike Friday, saying that they would stop welcoming patients with the exception of emergency cases, patients with dialysis and chemotherapy.

The syndicate called on hospitals to close the clinics of doctors in hospitals and not to register surgical operations on this day, citing the critical nature of the current situation and uncertainty over the future of the sector.

The syndicate vehemently stressed the need to adhere to this decision.

The Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) in Lebanon has announced national expenditure on healthcare, as a percentage of GDP, is 7.5 percent- 1.5 percent above low-income countries, and 4.8 percent below high-income countries, as reported by UNDP.

"We took this decision due to the unpaid labor and expenses of hospitals in Lebanon. According to the World Health Organization, at least 50 percent of the doctors in Lebanon do not make more than 1.5 million LBP per month," Dr. Charaf Abou Charaf, President of the Order of Physicians, told Annahar.

The Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) in Lebanon has announced national expenditure on healthcare, as a percentage of GDP, is 7.5 percent- 1.5 percent above low-income countries, and 4.8 percent below high-income countries, as reported by UNDP.

"We are not making a political statement against anyone, we are demanding our right because we cannot continue working like this. We call for this decision for one day only, and every patient in need of urgent medical care will be admitted, whilst minor operations and surgeries that can be postponed will not. Again, this is not a statement against any politicians, it is a movement to give back doctors and physicians their rights."

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