Lebanon’s Central Bank chief Riad Salameh said on Thursday that the election of a new president and the coming formation of a new government will increase confidence in the economy and attract foreign aid.
The election of President Michel “Aoun should lead to a normal activity of the constitutional institutions … increasing confidence in the economy,” Salameh said at a conference organized by the Central Bank.
“The formation of a new government would help by attracting foreign aid and mitigating the cost of the Syrian presence in Lebanon that we estimate at 5 percent of the GDP,” he added, referring to the large number of Syrian refugees in Lebanon.
The parliament elected Aoun as president on Monday, ending a 29-month presidential vacuum that had paralyzed state institutions and worsened the country’s economic situation.
Aoun is due to task former Prime Minister Saad Hariri with forming the new government after the majority of parliament’s 128 MPs nominated him for the post.
Last week, reports said that Salameh was considering a proposal to prohibit Lebanese banks from converting their existing loan portfolios from dollars to the Lebanese pound.
But bankers dismissed such reports, saying the monetary market was stable and the central bank governor was keen on preserving the stability of the national currency.
Salameh also stressed last week that banks and financial institutions in general were keen, following the 2008 financial crisis, to focus on their social performance in a bid to restore confidence in the business world.