Saudi Press

Saudi Arabia and the world
Sunday, Jan 29, 2023

Power struggle: Political row threatens Lebanon with total shutdown

Power struggle: Political row threatens Lebanon with total shutdown

Lebanon’s only functioning power plant has been shut down as a result of a worsening political dispute between caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati and the rival Free Patriotic Movement, which controls the country’s energy ministry.
The closure threatens to plunge Lebanon into almost complete darkness.

Electricite du Liban, known as EDL, urged the authorities to solve the issue by opening the necessary credits to unload fuel ships after a row over advanced payments led to a delay in gas oil shipments.

The company’s plea came as a shortage of gas oil, the fuel used to power the plants, forced it to shut down the Al-Zahrani site.

EDL also said that about 6,000 tons of fuel left in the Deir Ammar power plant could only be used for general maintenance work for the installation’s steam turbine.

A political source said that a settlement is unlikely amid the deepening political dispute, with further government paralysis and threats to other essential services a growing possibility.

FPM ministers have overseen the Ministry of Energy since 2009.

The ministry has supplied gas oil ships to meet the needs of EDL’s production plants, which provide one hour of electricity daily for various Lebanese regions, and additional hours for Rafic Hariri International Airport and essential state facilities.

However, the ministry is seeking a $62 million advance to buy 66,000 metric tons of gas oil because of its inability to secure funds.

According to the ministry’s tenders, a shipment of gas oil was due to be unloaded last December, but the failure to issue a treasury advance payment decree delayed the process.

Mikati has refused to approve an emergency decree to pay the advance.

His adviser, Faris Al-Jameel, told Arab News that any advance required Cabinet approval.

He added that EDL had to explain how the advance would be paid back, so it would not be added to already outstanding advances that so far have cost the Lebanese state $40 billion.

Before granting a treasury advance, Lebanon’s central bank had requested a written undertaking on EDL’s readiness to repay the funds.

However, EDL failed to provide an undertaking in its advance request.

Procedures for requesting the advance have been hampered by the deepening government dispute, with the FPM refusing to hold Cabinet meetings in view of the presidential vacuum.

A political source said that the energy ministry team is pressuring Mikati to make decisions outside the Cabinet, while the caretaker prime minister wanted to establish his role by taking decisions during Cabinet meetings.

Meanwhile, three gas oil ships remain anchored offshore, resulting in delay penalties, with daily losses estimated at $20,000.

Energy Minister Walid Fayyad claimed that docking fines have exceeded $300,000 to date.

Ghassan Baydoun, former director-general of the ministry, said the ministry is accountable for losses incurred by the state as a result of fines.

He said that FPM ministers who took over the ministry were accustomed to outsourcing and concluding agreements while funding was not available, leading to considerable fines incurred by the state.

Jean Ellieh, head of the Public Procurement Authority supervising tenders, said that energy ministry deals were taking place without legal foundation, and energy ministers had broken laws to cover their violations.

An emergency trade union meeting on Thursday in Beirut called on officials to elect a president without delay and launch an immediate rescue program for the country.

Representatives from the Free Professions Unions, General Labor Union, education associations and the Teachers Syndicate called for action to be taken against officials who “fail to promptly carry out their constitutional and national duties.”

Related Articles

Saudi Press
Tesla reported record profits and record revenues for 2022
Germany confirms it will provide Ukraine with Leopard 2 tanks
Prince Andrew and Virginia Giuffre Photo Is Fake: Ghislaine Maxwell
Opinion | Israel’s Supreme Court Claims a Veto on Democracy
Moonwalker Buzz Aldrin Gets Married On His 93rd Birthday
Who’s Threatening Israeli Democracy?
Federal Reserve Probes Goldman’s Consumer Business
China's first population drop in six decades
Microsoft is finalising plans to become the latest technology giant to reduce its workforce during a global economic slowdown
Saudi FM discusses Kingdom’s economy, oil, Iran and US ties in Davos
Israelis rally in three cities against Netanyahu legal reforms
China's foreign ministry branch in Hong Kong urges British gov't to stop the biased and double standards Hong Kong report
Tesla slashes prices globally by as much as 20 percent
1.4 Million Copies Of Prince Harry's Memoir 'Spare' Sold On 1st Day In UK
After Failing To Pay Office Rent, Twitter May Sell User Names
Lisa Marie Presley, singer and daughter of Elvis, dies aged 54
FIFA president questioned by prosecutors
Britain's Sunak breaks silence and admits using private healthcare
Saudi Arabia plans to use domestic uranium for nuclear fuel
Mohammed Bin Salman chosen most influential Arab leader of 2022
Hype and backlash as Harry's memoir goes on sale. Unnamed royal source says prince 'kidnapped by cult of psychotherapy and Meghan'
United Arab Emirates says it will teach Holocaust in schools
Saudi Arabia set to overtake India as fastest-growing major economy this year 
International medical experts speak out against COVID-19 restrictions on China
Google and Facebook’s dominance in digital ads challenged by rapid ascent of Amazon and TikTok
FTX fraud investigators are digging deeper into Sam Bankman-Fried's inner circle – and reportedly have ex-engineer Nishad Singh in their sights
TikTok CEO Plans to Meet European Union Regulators
France has banned the online sale of paracetamol until February, citing ongoing supply issues
Japan reportedly to give families 1 million yen per child to move out of Tokyo
Saudi Arabia’s female ambassadors: Who are the five women representing the Kingdom?
Almubarak named ‘The Best Central Bank Governor of the Year 2023 for the Middle East’
Hong Kong property brokerages slash payrolls in choppy market
U.S. Moves to Seize Robinhood Shares, Silvergate Accounts Tied to FTX
Effect of EU sanctions on Moscow is ‘less than zero’ – Belgian MEP
Dubai announces $8.7 trillion economic plan to boost trade, investment and global hub status
Coinbase to Pay $100 Million in Settlement With New York Regulator
FTX assets worth $3.5bn held by Bahamas securities regulator
A Republican congressman-elect is under investigation in New York after he admitted he lied about his education and work experience.
Brazilian football legend Pele, arguably the greatest player ever, has died at the age of 82.
Hong Kong to scrap almost all its Covid rules
EU calls screening of travellers from China unjustified
US imposes Covid testing for visitors from China
Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy Addresses Joint Session of Congress - FULL SPEECH
Where is Rishi? Chancellor Jeremy Hunt's excuses about the UK's economic challenges just don't make sense
Former FTX CEO Bankman-Fried finally arrested in Bahamas after U.S. files charges
Corruption works: House Financial Services Chair Waters doesn't plan to subpoena her donor, Sam Bankman-Fried, to testify at hearing on FTX collapse
Ronaldo's new contract...
Prince William's godmother resigns honorary royal role after exposing her/their racism
Tax fraud verdict again exposes illusion of Trump the master businessman
Tax fraud verdict again exposes illusion of Trump the master businessman.