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Lebanon Opportunities

Lebanon Opportunities April 2019

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 combat of corruption is corrupt

The honeymoon is over for the government – even before the completion of its first 100 days. It took just a handful of Cabinet meetings for the traditional feuds to reignite, with bickering about the electricity plan, appointments to public sector positions, and a variety of less important decisions. The pledge of reform and to combat corruption has turned into an ugly display of political retribution. THE SOUND OF SILENCE The well-cemented March 8 coalition has ganged up on former Prime Minister Fuad Siniora, singing the $11 billion tune. The opposite side, in disarray, stood there bewildered, offering whimpers of support, and nothing more. The statesman stood alone, defending a record of decisions that all political parties voted in favor of during his tenure. There were no attempts to uncover the true…

1 min

SOUND BYTES Be proud of your country, a bright future is ahead of you Former French President François Hollande The government is determined to implement the economic recovery plan and to convert into a productive economy President Michel Aoun The King of Jordan told me that his country is ready to supply us with electricity Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri The government will have a plan for electricity in three months Prime Minister Saad Hariri Without electricity there will be no development, investment, and progress Pierre Duquesne, French Ambassador to the Mediterranean, coordinator of CEDRE Much of the discussion in the past around public accounts was not based on actual or accurate facts Ali Hassan Khalil, Minister of Finance We know where every penny of the $11 billion was spent Alain Bifani, Director General of Finance I took revenge for the industrialists Wael Abou Faour, Minister…

7 min
in good company

INDUSTRY DECLARES STATE OF EMERGENCY The Association of Lebanese Industrialists (ALI) announced an ‘industrial emergency’ on Wednesday, calling on the government to save the country’s industry, jobs, and economy. “Tens of manufacturers are close to shutting down their factories due to dumping, smuggling, and unlicensed factories,” said Fadi Gemayel, Chairman of ALI. The association gave the government 100 days to take measures to save the industrial sector. ALI requested a comprehensive vision and strategy for reviving the sector and economy. They demanded the closure of all illegal factories, implementation of trade agreements based on reciprocity, implementation of laws on the books, a review of industrial costs, injection of liquidity in the market, and a reduction of borrowing costs. Wael Abou Faour, Minister of Industry, joined voices with the industrialists. “I meet…

2 min
money & banking

ARAB FUND TO LEND $165 MILLION TO HOUSING BANK Banque de l’Habitat (The Housing Bank) has secured a 30-year soft loan of KD50 million ($165 million) from the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development, said Joseph Sassine, Chairman of The Housing Bank. A preliminary agreement has been signed between the Arab Fund and the Council for Development and Reconstruction (CDR) for this purpose. The Cabinet is expected to issue the related decree in its next session. The Housing Bank will pay an interest rate of 2.5 percent on the loan while it will charge borrowers the 5.5 percent set up by the Central Bank (BDL) for housing loans provided in 2019. The new funds will enf able the bank to provide more than 1,000 loans, Sassine said. “We will request…

8 min
official business

GOVERNMENT REITERATES LOCAL GOODS PREFERENTIAL TREATMENT IN BIDS The Prime Minister’s Office issued a circular asking all public institutions and Union of Municipalities to give ‘Made in Lebanon’ goods a preference when setting the terms of reference for tenders and public procurement. Manufactured products should be given preferential treatment even if they are up to ten percent more expensive than imported goods. The decision is based on a circular issued in 1997, calling for involving national industries in tenders whenever these industries meet the technical conditions that are required in the terms of reference. “Public institutions are still not abiding to the rules and decrees issued when setting the terms of references for tenders,” the Prime Minister’s Office said in a statement. “Public procurements for manufactured goods are still very shy,”…

7 min
matters of fact

PUBLIC DEBT UP WITH HIGHER DEFICITS Gross public debt increased seven percent year-on-year to $85.1 billion at the end of 2018, according to the Ministry of Finance (MoF). Net total debt rose ten percent to $75.7 billion over the same period. Net total debt is calculated by subtracting from the gross debt, public sector deposits with the Central Bank (BDL) and commercial banks. “Wider fiscal deficits in the context of weak economic activity and high interest rates have led to rapid accumulation of public debt, which increased to 152 percent of GDP in 2018,” the Institute of International Finance (IIF) said in ‘Lebanon: Time to Act’, a report released in February. The gross local currency debt, which includes public sector deposits, stood at $51.6 billion at the end of 2018. Half…