Lebanon gets $65mn loan for electricity stations
According to the contract, the loan will be used to finance work at the electrical relay stations serving Ashrafieh, Beirut’s southern suburbs and Tripoli
Lebanon received a $65mn loan from Bank Audi Friday to raise the capacity of three electricity relay stations to 490 MW.
The agreement was signed by Finance Minister Ali Hasan Khalil and Raymond Audi, chairman of the bank, at the finance ministry.
According to the contract, the loan will be used to finance work at the electrical relay stations serving Ashrafieh, Beirut’s southern suburbs and Tripoli.
Khalil said that the loan agreement with Bank Audi comes under the framework of Law 181 pertaining to financing electricity projects in Lebanon.
“These are very important projects and will allow different regions to benefit from electricity production,” the minister said after the signing ceremony.
He underscored the importance of securing funds to complete all the approved projects.
Total electricity production in Lebanon ranges between just 1,400 to 1,600 MW.
However, experts say the country needs over 2,400 MW of electricity to end chronic power rationing and allow 24-hour service.
The state-owned Electricite du Liban applies severe electricity cuts in most parts of the country due to the limited output capacity of the country’s aging power plants.
When he was energy and water minister, Gebran Bassil presented a five year plan to build more power plants in order to produce 4,000 MW.
But this project never materialized due to the sharp differences between the Finance and Energy Ministries over the cost of the building these power plants.
Khalil said there is solid cooperation between the public and private sectors, noting that after long discussions in the Cabinet, the ministers authorized the Finance Ministry to sign the loan agreement with Bank Audi.
He expressed the Finance Ministry readiness to discuss with the Energy Ministry all the electricity projects that were put on hold.
Khalil said the difficult circumstances in the country are mainly due to the paralysis in the political institutions. The minister renewed calls to pass the 2016 draft budget, adding it is unacceptable that the country remain without a budget for more than 10 years.