The central bank issued on May 27, 2020 two separate Circulars, Nos. 556 and 557, providing commercial banks with foreign currency to finance the imports of raw material for industry and the imports of basic food and the raw material for the agro-food industry.
In details, in Circular No 556, banks may ask BDL to provide up to $100M or their equivalent in other foreign currencies to finance 90% of the value of raw materials imported by licensed industrial firms, noting that the industrialist can benefit from facilities of up to $300,000 or their equivalent in other foreign currencies. In addition, the mechanism and conditions to benefit from this measure will be set by the Ministry of Industry.
In Circular No 557, banks may ask BDL to provide the needed foreign currencies for importers of basic foods and the raw materials used in the agro-food industry in accordance to an eligibility list prepared by the Ministry of Economy and Trade for that purpose. The latter will also set the mechanism and conditions to benefit from this measure.
Worth mentioning that industrial exporters benefiting from this scheme must transfer to Lebanon foreign currencies no less than the equivalent of the value of raw materials used in the manufacture of the exported industrial products.
As for the exchange rate of foreign currencies used for food imports, it will be computed according to the market price set by BDL. Moreover, these Circulars will be effective for one year from the date of their issuance.