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Lebanon Opportunities

Lebanon Opportunities April 2017

Lebanon Opportunities is a quarterly business magazine that covers: Finance, Real estate, Economy, and Local business. Lebanon Opportunities has tens of thousands of readers in Lebanon and across the globe. It is the prime local business magazine in Lebanon in terms of readership, advertising, and name-awareness. Lebanon Opportunities is written to a target of small business owners, entrepreneurs and middle management, as well as to Lebanese living abroad. It aims at bringing complex business issues in a simple manner understandable by readers who are not experts and whose English language is not the mother tongue.

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3 min

Yes, it has been 20 years! This magazine was started to chronicle a national promise of progress and development. Dreams abound of a modern country, fair to its citizens, hospitable to its returning or visiting expatriates and to tourists, enabling business to thrive, and protecting the weak strata of its people. Doers and cynics battled, back then, the merits of these dreams – and they still do today. We committed ourselves on the side of the doers. The successes realized in the past two decades, and the pitfalls as well, convince us that the battle is not yet over. We shall persevere in our mission. BEFORE AND AFTER This special issue is dedicated to drawing a contrast between the picture at the time we started, and a snapshot of today’s situation. Backed…

1 min
bits & bytes

SOUND BYTES Most of what has been published and circulated about taxes is false Prime Minister Saad Hariri Taxation should not be used as an act of revenge Former Prime Minister Fouad Seniora Banks have offered the State $1 billion to avert increasing interest tax on deposits Ali Hassan Khalil, Minister of Finance We have not offered the State anything François Bassil former Chairman of the Association of Banks What good would it be to give public employees increases in one hand, and take it away through inflation from the other Ghattas Khoury, Minister of Culture I propose increasing tax on bank profits from 15 to 25 percent Raed Khoury Minister of Economy and Trade Decisions by the Council of Ministers are perpetuating corruption Youssef Finianos Minister of Public Works and Transport Bank secrecy should be lifted on all those dealing with public matters Boutos Harb…

6 min
in good company

Provided by BUSINESSNEWS.COM.lb by LEBANON OPPORTUNITIES U.K. BANS CABIN LAPTOPS ON FLIGHTS OUT OF BEIRUT The U.K. has joined the U.S. in banning laptops and other electronic devices in airplane cabins on flights from Lebanon and several other Middle Eastern and North African (MENA) countries. The ban comes amid security concerns. Inbound direct flights from Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, and Turkey will be affected by the ban. Mobile telephones or smartphones larger than what is considered to be ‘normal-sized’ will also be forbidden. Laptops, ereaders, cameras, kindles, tablets, printers, electronic games, and portable DVD players are affected by the ban – which applies to direct flights. Electrical items may still be stowed in checked baggage. Approved medical devices may be brought into the cabin after additional screening. “We have been in…

5 min
money & banking

Provided by BUSINESSNEWS.COM.lb by LEBANON OPPORTUNITIES BANKS TO GENERATE $1.2 BILLION IN TAXES The Association of Banks (ABL) said that banks will pay $850 million in corporate income tax generated by the swap operations carried out with the Central Bank (BDL) in 2016. Banks were to pay $322 million in corporate income tax for the year 2016 on all operations, excluding the gains on swap operations. Bank shareholders will also pay a dividend tax of almost $56 million, bringing the total to be paid by banks and their shareholders to $1.23 billion. ABL said the tax on the swap operations alone will be enough to cover salary scale commitments amounting to $796 million and which are included in the State’s 2017 draft budget. As it has been estimated in the budget draft law…

7 min
official business

Provided by BUSINESSNEWS.COM.lb by LEBANON OPPORTUNITIES TWO MORE ELECTRICITY BARGES The Ministry of Energy and Water (MoEW) has put forth a new plan to increase power production starting this summer. The plan, which requires the approval of the Council of Ministers, proposes procuring the power production services of two more electricity barges with a capacity of 425 megawatts each. “The barges will be sourced from the Turkish firm Karadeniz for a period of five years at a cost of 5.8 cents per kilowatt hour,” an energy expert at the ministry said. If approved, the barges would be linked to the electricity grid in May and August. Two power ships, Fatmagul Sultan and Orhan Bey, have been linked to Zouk and Jiyyeh plants since 2013. Together they produce more than 250 MW of combined…

9 min
matters of fact

Provided by BUSINESSNEWS.COM.lb by LEBANON OPPORTUNITIES HALF THE TAXPAYERS EARN BELOW $10,000 ANNUALLY The lowest income earners among private sector regular employees (up to $10,000 annually) account for 57 percent of employees, and the highest two brackets (more than $40,000) account for six percent, according to ‘Assessing Labor Income Inequality in Lebanon’s Private Sector,’ a recent study conducted by the Ministry of Finance and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). Tax records of 369,279 declared employees represented a total income of $5.5 billion in 2014. The figure shows that the average wage is about $15,000. Tax records of 88,040 business owners, including the self-employed, represent a cumulative income of $1.3 billion. The lowest brackets (as defined above) account for 67 percent of all business owners, while the highest brackets account for seven percent of…