BEIRUT, Jan. 7 (Xinhua) -- Nassib Gemayel, president of the Mount Lebanon Trade Association, warned on Tuesday that thousands of more companies are expected to shut down in the coming weeks due to the dollar crisis in Lebanon, the National News Agency reported.
"We urge bankers to provide merchants with facilities by reducing banking restrictions and securing the necessary funds for traders to enable them to import products and operate normally again," Gemayel said.
Gemayel said merchants will be out of products soon.
"How can merchants and business people pay back their loans to banks if they are not able to operate properly?" he asked.
Gemayel said banks should also reduce interest rates on loans offered to merchants and companies in a bid to allow businessmen to overcome challenges.
The trader noted that the closure of thousands of companies soon will result in the lay-off of thousands of employees which will create a social disaster in the country.
Lebanon has witnessed in the past few months a shortage in the U.S. dollars caused by economic slowdown and the drop in cash injections from Lebanese abroad, reducing the central bank's foreign currency reserves and leading to a shortage in dollar for businesses and individuals.
Hence, banks put restrictions on withdrawals of depositors and their transfers from Lebanese pound to U.S. dollar.
Hundreds of companies have already shut down in Lebanon in the past few months because of this crisis and their inability to cover their expenses.