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Lebanon Opportunities

Lebanon Opportunities July 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 battle over the economy

While the Middle East is entering into more turmoil, we are busy at home with our ongoing cycle of wins and woes. No surprise that the good news comes from the private sector, and the misery from our officials. THERE ARE TWO SIDES We are in the middle of a battle. The attack is coming from the incompetent and often crooked ruling class, which has, once again, demonstrated a lack of skill in governance. The (ongoing) circus around the 2019 budget, with the fight over the 2020 version to come, is eating away at the output of both the private sector and regular citizens. The counter-attack is all too visible (see our May issue). In all business sectors, rejuvenation is underway. The private sector will overcome. ON THE POSITIVE SIDE The promised summer bonanza…

2 min
bits & bytes

SOUND BYTES It is as if most of those who approved the budget in the Cabinet are from a different political planet Prime Minister Saad Hariri I say to all the actors on the economic level: Tell us what you want and we will do it Prime Minister Saad Hariri We are seeking to increase the yearly number of tourists from two million to four to five million in five years Avedis Kidinian, Minister of Tourism People are used to evading honoring their tax responsibilities Mansour Bteich, Minister of Economy and Trade It is better to do the necessary reforms with our hands than to have them later imposed by a bureaucrat working for an international organization Samir Geagea, Chairman of the Lebanese Forces How can the feasibility of any tax action be evaluated without examining the economic and social impact? Sami…

7 min
in good company

MEA FIRST BUYER OF NEWEST AIRBUS MODEL Middle East Airlines (MEA) has signed a firm order for four Airbus aircraft of the new extra-long range narrow-body model A321XLR. The list price of each A321XLR plane is around $120 million, said Mohamad El Hout Chairman of MEA. This model benefits from fuel cost efficiencies, he said. This deal makes MEA the ‘launch airline customer’ of the A321XLR body, which means that it is the first airline in the world to order this model. “The agreement takes Middle East Airlines’ cumulative single aisle orders with Airbus to 15 A321neo family aircraft, including 11 A321neos and four A321XLRs with deliveries starting in 2020. MEA will use the A321XLR to strengthen its network in Africa and Asia,” Airbus and MEA said in a joint statement.…

4 min
money & banking

BANK AUDI TO MANAGE ELECTRONIC TRADING PLATFORM The Capital Markets Authority (CMA) has granted a license to Bank Audi Group and the Athens Stock Exchange (ATHEX) to set up and operate an electronic trading platform (ETP), said Riad Salameh, Governor of the Central Bank and Chairman of the CMA. Firas Safieddine, Vice Chairman of the CMA, said that the winning consortium will contribute capital of $20 million to a special purpose vehicle (SPV) that will be created to operate the platform. The Bank Audi-ATHEX consortium has opened the door for banks and financial institutions to also contribute to the SPV’s capital, he said. After ten years of operating the ETP, the winning consortium will have to list nearly 70 percent of the SPV shares on the ETP itself. The consortium has…

4 min
official business

CIVIL STATUS DEPARTMENTS TO BE LINKED ELECTRONICALLY Citizens will be able to get a printed extract from their civil status documentation (ikhraj kayd) from anywhere in Lebanon within three to four months. The regional civil status departments will be connected to the central office through the broadband Internet network or through wireless where broadband is not available. Citizens will no longer have to go to the caza where they were born to get their civil status extracts. The documents will be printed and therefore the errors that used to occur when they were handwritten will be avoided. The government also plans to launch an online service that citizens can access to report complaints pertaining to the Internal Security Forces. L0719-22 MINISTRY OF TELECOM ANNOUNCES NEW ROAMING SERVICE The Ministry of Telecommunication (MoT) has assigned…

4 min
matters of fact

PRIVATE SECTOR CREDIT UNCHANGED LAST YEAR Outstanding credit provided by the financial sector to the private sector increased by 1.3 percent in 2018 to stand at $69.5 billion at the end of the year, according to the Central Bank’s ‘Quarterly Bulletin’ for the fourth quarter of 2018. Loans by commercial banks to the private sector witnessed a decline in the first quarter of 2019 as their appetite for lending remains constrained amid the current low growth environment, Bank Audi said in its ‘Lebanon Economic Report’ for the first quarter of 2019. The commercial banks’ claims on resident customers dropped three percent in the first quarter of 2019 to $50 billion, compared with the end of 2018, according to Central Bank data. Lending to the industrial sector jumped 12 percent, to $7.6…