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Lebanon Opportunities

Lebanon Opportunities December 2016

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
wondering in billions

Billion is the basic unit measure of serious undertakings. In politics, finance, relief, or investments, the billion dollar mark is where one starts. It makes you wonder how we got to this number. The $70 billion in public debt, the $48 billion in private sector liabilities, the one million refugees and the billions of dollars in aid from donors, the billions invested in real estate, the $41 billion in gross foreign exchange reserves at the Central Bank, the billions of dollars wasted by the electricity company, and the other billions in corruption money. Speak and wonder in billions, or forever hold your peace. BILLIONS IN POLITICAL SPOILS The political tug-of-war – interrupted by a short honeymoon period – has resumed. Same game. Same rules. Same players. Different outcome? Not! The constitutional basis…

2 min
bits & bytes

SOUND BYTES Roll up your sleeves, nation building has begun President Michel Aoun We are the party of economic revival and social justice, of universities not militias PM-designate Saad Hariri, Chairman of the Mustakbal Party The private sector needs cooperation from the public sector and support in constructive legislation Patriarch Bechara El Raii Lebanon and its people always come through, overcoming all obstacles and proving to the entire world that their resolve is unlimited in achieving the impossible Prince Khaled Al Faisal, Governor of Mecca, Advisor to the King of Saudi Arabia France is getting ready for a Paris IV donor conference for Lebanon Nouhad Machnouk, Minister of Interior Whether we like Iran or not, we have to benefit from a mutual relationship Gebran Bassil, Minister of Foreign Affairs The good news for hospitals is that I will no longer be the Minister…

13 min
in good company

$1 BILLION REAL ESTATE COMPANY TO BE LAUNCHED A real estate company with a capital of $1 billion is expected to be launched in the first half of 2017 by Massaad Fares and Namir Cortas. The company will buy and sell built real estate properties under the directives of Intermediate Circular 427, issued by the Central Bank (BDL) earlier this year. The capital of the new firm will be raised through a collective investment scheme (fund). Med Securities has been appointed as the leading placement agent. Subscriptions will be carried out through local banks, Fares said. Mohamed Alem, Senior Partner at law firm Alem & Associates, said that this kind of funding is the ideal investment instrument for large conglomerates and institutional investors that sit on big amounts of cash. These…

2 min
money & banking

$1 BILLION MORE IN STIMULUS FROM CENTRAL BANK The Central Bank (BDL) has approved a new stimulus package of LL1,500 billion ($1 billion) for 2017, according to BDL’s intermediate circular 444. The package consists of soft loans to banks at an interest rate of one percent. The package brings the amount of money injected in the economy under BDL’s stimulus program to $5.4 billion. The program was first launched in 2013 and aims to boost lending at low interest rates to the private sector, mainly for small and medium enterprises (SMEs). Tourism, agriculture, industry, information technology, environment, housing, education, and innovation are being targeted. BDL set an upper limit of $600 million for dedicated housing loan credit facilities of banks as part of the 2017 stimulus, according to the circular. The…

6 min
official business

$300 MILLION IN HOSPITALIZATION ALLOCATED A recently issued Cabinet decree has allocated around $300 million per year to cover hospitalization fees of patients to be treated at the expense of the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH). This is an increase of around eight percent compared to 2014. Around $86 million will be allocated to 34 public hospitals, and $182 million to 127 private hospitals, private long-stay medical elderly homes, and specialized treatment centers. The services to be provided are based on contracts signed between the MoPH and each hospital. The amounts are based on the budget draft law for 2016. Some $34 million will be provided to hospitals specialized in chronic diseases, mental and physical disabilities, pulmonary diseases, intense care, psychiatric illness, and radiology, among others. The hospitals chosen are distributed…

8 min
matters of fact

BALANCE OF PAYMENTS SURPLUS The net surplus in the balance of payments for the first eight months of 2016 was $366 million. This was the result of a 37 percent jump in financial inflows that have offset a ten percent widening in trade deficit. Financial inflows surged to $11.2 billion in the first eight months of 2016 from $8.2 billion in the same period last year. The balance of payments recorded a substantial surplus of $1.8 billion in August resulting from the financial engineering operation of the Central Bank (BDL). BDL’s financial engineering activity consisted of a swap operation with local banks worth $10 billion. The swap increased BDL’s foreign reserves and was a lucrative deal for the banks. The balance of payments has been reporting deficits since 2011. This improvement…