On Wednesday, the Lebanese authorities stopped taking appointments for passport renewals for a lack of funds to pay the company contracted to issue new documents.
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“We have no alternative but to suspend these services because the increase in passport applications for migration reasons has depleted existing stockpiles," the General Security Directorate stated, clarifying that citizens with pre-existing appointments are still eligible for new travel documents.
Nevertheless, these people will have to wait longer than usual to obtain their passports because of the increasing demand for document renewal requests, which has risen by ten times since 2020.
The Lebanese economic crisis originated from the coronavirus pandemic, the 2020 Beirut port explosion, which devastated part of the capital and killed over 200 people. The armed conflict in Ukraine has exacerbated inflation and food and fuel supply scarcity.
Due to this situation, the local currency lost over 90 percent of its value, the Central Bank gradually lifted subsidies on commodities, and the national poverty rate reached 80 percent.
On April 8, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) agreed to hand over US$3 billion to the Lebanese state to help it establish a reform program for the financial sector that will comprise policies that increase social and infrastructure spending.
"These measures will strengthen the governance and transparency," the IMF pointed out, adding that the program will have to be complemented by the Lebanese external public debt restructuring to be fully effective.