Lebanese parliament approves World Bank loan for the poor
Lebanon’s parliament on Friday approved a $246 million loan from the World Bank that would provide cash assistance for more than 160,000 families in the small country hit by an unprecedented economic crisis and the coronavirus pandemic.
The approval came as the local currency hit a new record low on the black market, trading 11,150 Lebanese pounds to the dollar. The new crash triggered immediate protests, mostly in the country’s north.
Using the rate of 6,240 pounds to the dollar in helping poor families means they are being short-changed, getting about 62% of what they would be getting on the black market rate.
According to a World Bank statement in January, the significant portion of the loan — nearly $200 million — will go toward providing cash assistance to around 786,000 individuals through a pre-paid electronic card.