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Lebanon Opportunities

Lebanon Opportunities December 2018

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
the planet of big bosses

by the editor-in-chief Describing the private sector as a party of heartless and greedy misers has always been for me a put-off. Here are mostly hard working people—small company owners, artisans, and professionals—doing their utmost to earn a living while providing their best in goods and services. There isn’t a drop of leftist blood running through my veins. But the recent positions and actions of the leaders of the business associations are teasing me to reconsider Karl Marx. What have you done? PAY TAXES INSTEAD OF LOWERING WAGES A number of business leaders are now openly calling for the government to reverse the increase in public sector salaries and wages that was adopted a year and a half ago, after more than a decade of stagnation. There is a big hole in the…

1 min
bits & bytes

SOUND BYTES Sanctions are financial imperialism President Michel Aoun Half the debt is due to obstruction Prime Minister Saad Hariri There isn’t a lira left in reserve Ali Hassan Khalil, Minister of Finance We will not remain idle towards municipalities violating electricity meters. We are looking out for them Raed Khoury, Minister of Economy and Trade Hunger is coming Walid Jumblatt, Leader of the Progressive Socialist Party We have spent hundreds of millions of dollars to build water treatment plants. Why aren’t they working? Yassine Jaber, MP and former Minister of Economy It is prohibited to prohibit imports from a single country Mohamed Choucair, Chairman of the Economic Associations Interest rates will increase Joseph Torbey, Chairman of the Association of Banks The industrial sector has become a national cause Fadi Gemayel, Chairman of the Association of Industrialists What is allowed for Zahleh in electricity is forbidden for Tripoli Nicolas Nahas,…

5 min
in good company

BERYTECH IN AMCHIT Berytech and Michel Issa Foundation (MIF) have launched ‘Berytech Amchit’, the first business innovation center outside Beirut. Berytech Amchit will support area entrepreneurs in various fields including ICT, smart agri-food, renewable energy, ecotourism, and social entrepreneurs, said Maroun Chammas, Chairman and CEO of Berytech. The Amchit location was selected for two major reasons. Ramy Boujawdeh, Berytech’s Deputy General Manager, said that the area has a high population and universities, and graduates have shown interest and commitment to improve entrepreneurship. The project will enhance the economy and address job creation in the Kesrouan and North Lebanon areas, said Toni Issa, Chairman of MIF. MIF will finance the building at an approximate cost of $5 million, and expects to open in Q1 2020. Berytech will manage the project, and plans…

6 min
money & banking

US SANCTIONS AGAINST IRAN WILL NOT AFFECT LOCAL BANKS Local banks will not be affected if SWIFT complies with U.S. sanctions against Iran, which have been put into effect. SWIFT, the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication, provides financial messaging services, such as money transfer instructions, between banks across the world. Makram Sader, Secretary General of the Association of Banks, said that Lebanese banks don’t have any correspondent relationships with Iranian banks. Local banks stopped de facto dealings even with the sole Iranian bank operating in Lebanon years ago, since the earlier U.S. sanctions, he said. Trade with Iran is restricted to a few imported products like peanuts and carpets, Sader said. Many carpets are imported by pilgrims returning from visits to holy shrines in Iran, he said. Overall imports from…

10 min
official business

THE WORLD BANK ISSUES WARNING ON RISK PROFILE The country’s risk profile is rising sharply and the utility of some of the tools used by the Central Bank (BDL) to uphold the macro-financial situation is depleting, according to the ‘Lebanon Economic Monitor’ report for the fall of 2018 issued by The World Bank (WB). The ‘De-Risking Lebanon’ report said that an improvement can be achieved when a new Cabinet is formed, especially if it quickly implements the commitments made at the CEDRE conference. “A critical first step is the formation of a new government, upon which, the risk premium for Lebanon would likely improve quickly. This can relieve some of the burden placed on the Central Bank,’ the WB said. A new Cabinet is vital to tap the “unique opportunity offered…

3 min
matters of fact

INDUSTRIAL PERMITS UP BY 45 PERCENT The Ministry of Industry (MoI) issued 476 industrial permits in the first six months of the year, a 45 percent increase compared to the same period last year. These include new establishment licenses, expansion approvals, exploitation permits, and renewals. The MoI issued 139 licenses for the establishment of new factories. “Investors’ appetite for putting money in the industrial sector is growing,” said Dany Gedeon, Director General at the Ministry. Food industries and construction material industries accounted for 40 percent of licenses for new factories. “Small and medium-sized projects are opting for opportunities in the agro-food sector, especially in rural areas,” said Georges Nesraoui, Vice Chairman of the Association of Lebanese Industrialists. The majority of these factories produce pickles, spices, and traditional sweet beverages. The MoI…