Lebanese Central Bank Governor, Riad Salameh, told the French weekly Paris Match on Thursday that Lebanon was "not bankrupt".
In response to a question whether he was a scapegoat to blame for the country’s economic collapse, Salameh said that only part of the street, incited by political factions, had demonized in a caricatured manner the Central Bank and its governor.
“It is unfair; we are not the cause of the problems which Lebanon has to face. On the contrary, the monetary policy has helped keep interest rates low for a long time while the country's debt increased from year to year. Today, despite the default, and despite the recession caused by the coronavirus pandemic, the country is not bankrupt,” Salameh asserted.
He said that the prices of petrol, medicine, and flour remained stable.
“The fact that we have sufficient reserves to finance essential imports proves that we have done our job in a professional way,” he corroborated.
According to the Central Bank and in terms of its management, Salameh explained that the state lacked transparency.
“Some deficits were not justified, especially when the public sector wages were increased. Like other creditors, I sounded the alarm many times. And we all believed in the promises of efforts and reforms constantly declared, but alas, never followed up on," regretted Salameh.
Whether he’ll be remaining in his post or not, Salameh said, “As long as they want me, I will continue to serve the interests of Lebanon. A new Titanic has recently taken to the sea, and this makes me say that we should never lose hope.”