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Lebanon Opportunities

Lebanon Opportunities January 2020

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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2 min

Following a three-month wait from the start of the protests, a new Cabinet has been formed of non-independent members, most of whom are not specialists in the ministerial portfolios they have been entrusted with. Some of the political parties, kicked out from the front door, have reentered from the back. Mabrouk! Big challenges – Redux Nothing has really changed since the last government resigned, except that the same problems have gotten much bigger. Top on people’s minds is their access to bank deposits and whether they will suffer from a haircut — or a total loss. Businesses are focused on capital controls which have become, for many of them, the primary impediment to conducting business. Companies are continuing to shed employees, lower salaries, or cease operations. In the meantime, the government, or…

1 min
in brief tidbits

Soundbytes We have already prepared an economic plan and financial reforms that the government will have to implement or amend when necessary—President Michel AounWashington will only provide aid to a Lebanese government that is not corrupt and committed to carrying out reforms and responding to the demands of the people—Mike Pompeo, US Secretary of StateIt is impossible for the dollar to return to the price it was before—Ghazi Wazni, Minister of FinanceIt is out of the question to dismiss Riad Salameh—Prime Minister Hassan DiabThe Ministry of Economy and Trade must establish and implement the economic policies of the country, but its powers and functions do not allow it taking decisive economic and economic decisions—Mansour Bteich, former Minister of Economy and TradeFrance will do everything to help Lebanon out of its deep…

1 min

$300 million needed immediately by industrialists to prevent collapse The Central Bank (BDL) must allow manufacturers to carry out bank transfers abroad of $3 billion per year in order to finance their imports of raw materials, said Fady Gemayel Chairman of the Association of Lebanese Industrialists. Industrialists need an immediate injection of $300 million to fund their imports, otherwise the sector will drift into a perilous deterioration, he said. According to Gemayel, the Governor of BDL has agreed to take quick measures to ease the importation of industrial raw materials following consultation with the Association of Banks. He called on the Governor to extend the facilitations offered by BDL to pharmaceutical factories, to help them finance their imports of raw materials, to the entire industrial sector. For each $3 billion of…

3 min

‘No aid before reforms’, says Paris aid conference An international support group, led by France and the United Nations, said that Lebanon cannot receive economic assistance until a new government undertakes significant reforms. The group is made up of international financial institutions and representatives from different countries, including the United States. U.S. Assistant Secretary for Near Eastern Affairs David Schenker said the international support group will give technical advice to Lebanese institutions and is considering sending some humanitarian aid to alleviate the suffering of the Lebanese people. He said: “There’s no aid package. There is no bailout. Lebanon is not being saved from its financial mess.” The support group said: “In order to halt the sharp deterioration in the economy… There is an urgent need for the adoption of a substantial,…

4 min

Electronic transfers between banks allowed The Central Bank (BDL) has issued a circular that allows real-time online transfers between customers in two different banks. The banks’ customers can use their payment cards or bank accounts to perform the transfer operations. Each customer can send up to LL500,000 ($330 according to the official exchange rate) per day in lira transfers and LL5 million ($3,300) per month. Transfers in foreign currencies sent by each customer are not allowed to exceed $300 per day and $3,000 per month. Each customer can receive lira transfers of up to LL1 million ($660) per day and LL10 million per month ($6,600). Transfers in foreign currencies received by one customer can reach $600 per day and $6,000 per month. BDL said it may approve higher ceilings for received…

4 min
matters of fact

Deficit wider than planned The fiscal deficit for 2019 will be much larger than expected due to the decline in revenues and the contraction in Gross Domestic Product (GDP), said the Ministry of Finance. Revenues in the fourth quarter of this year will be 40 percent below the LL5,000 billion ($3.3 billion) projected in the budget, it said. Projected revenues for the 2020 draft budget will be revised and consequently all budget figures will be modified. The government was aiming to reduce the deficit-to-GDP ratio for 2019 to 7.6 percent from 11.2 percent realized in 2018. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) said in its Country Report on Lebanon released in October: “IMF staff’s projection is that the budget measures will reduce the [2019] cash-basis fiscal deficit to around 9.75 percent of…