Lebanon pays annually for goods and services for 1 million tons of fuel oil, which according to the new agreement helps alleviate its power shortage.
Iraq has signed an agreement that allows the cash-strapped Lebanese government to pay 1 million tons of heavy fuel oil per year for goods and services, which will help Lebanon alleviate its acute shortage of power, the two parties said on Saturday.
Lebanon is in the throes of an economic collapse that threatens its stability. It has depleted foreign reserves besides and it faces a growing shortage of fuel, medicine and other basic goods. Most Lebanese have power outages for hours a day.
Iraqi Finance Minister Ali Allawi and Lebanese Energy Minister Raymond Ghajar signed the agreement in the presence of Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi.
Lebanese officials said Iraqi supplies would ease the situation at home.
Ghajar, after returning to Beirut after signing the agreement, said the fuel would be used for electricity generation and that it would be enough for four months. He said it was worth about $ 300 million to $ 400 million.
The Iraqi oil ministry said in a statement that it would supply Lebanon with heavy fuel surpluses from its refineries.
Lebanon experiences its worst economic crisis since its 15-year civil war ended in 1990.
The country, which has struggled at the best of times to meet the demand for electricity, has introduced increasingly long power outages across the country as fuel supplies fell short during the crisis that erupted in late 2019.
Many Lebanese rely on private generators that use diesel, which also has a shortage.
A shortage of foreign exchange has made Lebanon impossible to secure fuel and other essential goods.
Hospitals said this week that their generators are running out of fuel, putting critical patients at risk.
On Saturday, a top hospital director warned that the deepening of the economic crisis had put pressure on hospitals, which had ill-equipped them to deal with any new wave of coronavirus.
“All hospitals … are now less prepared than during the wave at the beginning of the year,” said Firass Abiad, the manager of the largest public hospital in the country, which fights COVID.
‘Medical and nursing staff are gone, medicines that were previously available are up,’ and the ever-increasing cut of the main force has constantly threatened hospitals.
Even the Rafik Hariri University Hospital he runs struggles to cope.
“We only get two to three hours of mainstream, and for the rest of the time it depends on the generators,” Abiad told the AFP news agency.