French official says offers fund when world “feels confident” in Lebanon’s reforms

A French official said Thursday that CEDRE funds will be released when the international community feels confident that Lebanon is serious about its reforms, the National News Agency reported.

“Donor countries need to feel confident about Lebanon’s capacity to change for them to offer CEDRE money to Lebanon,” Pierre Duquesne, French inter-ministerial delegate to the Mediterranean, said during a press conference held at the French Cultural Center in Beirut.

Duquesne said that the international community did not see great speed in implementing reforms noting that the government delayed the approval of the 2019 state budget.

He added that the Lebanese government still has a lot to do.

“The government must put priorities in starting with the needed reforms within the framework of CEDRE. The reforms aim at placing the country on the right path and not only pleasing donor countries,” he said.

The CEDRE is an international conference which pledged to release 11 billion U.S. dollars in loans and donations for Lebanon on condition that the country makes serious reforms.

Necessary reforms include an overhaul of the electricity sector which costs the treasury around 2 billion U.S. dollars yearly, a halt in employment in the public sector, the fight against tax evasion, an improved collection of bills and other structural changes.