The World Bank threatened on Tuesday to suspend its multi-million-dollar financing for Lebanon’s COVID-19 vaccinations over politicians (under the age of 75) jumping the line.
The World Bank’s funding enabled Lebanon to receive its first two batches of about 60,000 Pfizer-BioNTech doses this month.
The World Bank’s threat came after reports in the Lebanese media that Hezbollah’s health minister had authorized members of parliament from the Amal movement and the Syrian Socialist Party under the age of 75 to be vaccinated.
The head of the Lebanese Vaccine Committee has announced his resignation in light of the vaccination of MPs who are not entitled to it.
The culture of corruption in Lebanon has been one of the main protest subjects since October 2019. Corruption is currently manifested in several key issues:
- Flour that was sent to Lebanon as aid was sold on the black market. Some of the flour is stored and rotted.
- Oil, fuel, and diesel are stored in storage tanks and from there are transferred to Hezbollah for its use for its needs and for sale on the black market.
- Field hospitals with hundreds of beds and hundreds of respirators dismantled and scattered among private hospitals which are under the influence of the decision-makers mostly on behalf of the “Shiite duo” (Hezbollah and the Amal movement).
- The subsidized goods come to merchants, who import them in a dollar subsidized by the Bank of Lebanon, and then it is exported to Africa and Kuwait.
- The cost of importing drugs to Lebanon doubled last year and is funded by the Lebanese Bank’s dollar reserve. However, there is still a shortage in the pharmaceutical market because drugs are smuggled to Egypt and Nigeria.
*Featured image by Mahnaz yazdani