BEIRUT: Lebanon is at risk of being disconnected from the global web as it struggles to secure the requisite dollars to maintain Internet connectivity.
Ogero Chairman Imad Kreidieh confirmed on Twitter that he is facing “tremendous pressure” to secure $4 million in foreign currency to avert a shutdown by the end of March.
“The fact is we are facing tremendous pressures from our suppliers to secure [foreign exchange]. It’s pure and simple,” Kreidieh said Monday.
Lebanon's state-owned Ogero receives its internet connection from international suppliers before transmitting it to the rest of private ISPs.
After his tweet, Kreideh sought to ease mounting concerns over the possible blackout, telling LBCI that the "Telecommunication Ministry will not let it happen."
"This is out of the question, until now," he said.
The shortage of dollar liquidity has raised fears over local businesses and companies' ability to maintain the import of both basic and luxury goods.
Last week, Lebanon's Electricity Du Liban sounded the alarm over the gradual disappearance of dollars in the market, saying that it may reduce the hours of services.
Meanwhile, Energy Minister Nada Boustani said that "fuel reserves will last until the end of February", with electricity production in Beirut to be reduced to 16 hours daily, while other regions will be allocated around 10 hours of power.
Lebanon has been grappling with its most severe economic crisis in decades, with the shortage of dollar liquidity sending ripples across several industries.
Banks have implemented informal capital controls, limiting withdrawals to $200 per week. Meanwhile, credit and lending have also been capped or halted to ration deposit withdrawals and external transfers.
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