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Lebanon Opportunities

Lebanon Opportunities February 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
the crisis in our politics

by the editor-in-chief Do two wrongs make a right? Last month, it appeared that they did. Two parties assembled – similarly to many groupings in the country – around confessional banners joined forces to proclaim an even larger heresy to the Constitution. Brandishing a slogan of regaining rights due to their confession, they have put one more nail in the coffin of citizenship. It is a blessed initiative to bury the hatchet and heal old wounds whose scars have been haunting national unity for too long. The diversity of political representation within the Christian community, some even transcending to other communities, was one of the few remaining positive aspects of our pluralistic society. It was hoped that it would lead to contagion among the other confessional groups. It didn’t. The future…

1 min
bits & bytes

SOUND BYTES The functioning of the Government is as important as food and water Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri Political forces are committing political suicide as long as they continue to paralyze State institutions Ali Hassan Khalil, Minister of Finance Unfortunately we have to obey American rules Wissam Fattouh, Sec Gen of the Union of Arab Banks We may not know what’s coming, but we know well where we’re coming from Fady Gemayel, Chairman of the Association of industrialists On the garbage issue… Unofficially – I oppose the export of garbage that will cost around half a billion dollars Nabih Berri Exporting garbage is near madness from a country that has rejected all rational solutions Akram Chehayeb, Minister of Agriculture Opponents of garbage furnaces are mercenaries and profiteers. The Government plan is one the largest robberies on the entire globe Fadi Abboud, former Minister of Tourism …and…

10 min
in good company

TEN UPCOMING MALLS AT A COST OF $1.5 BILLION Ten shopping centers will open in the coming three years. They will be located in Beirut, Saida, Tyre, the Bekaa, Byblos, and Jounieh, according to Nabil Gebrael, the regional representative to Lebanon of the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) and the Middle East Council of Shopping Centers (MECSC). Gebrael said: “There are 12 existing malls with a gross leasable area (GLA) of about 416,000 square meters. The new malls will add 605,000 m2 of GLA, at a cost of $1.2-$1.5 billion. David Macadam, CEO of MECSC, said that a great year is coming for shopping centers. The GLA per capita will rise from 0.1 to 0.26 m2, once the new projects have been completed. “This is still below international industry standards.…

3 min
money & banking

CENTRAL BANK EXTENDS SUBSIDIZED LOAN PROGRAM The Central Bank (BDL) has extended to the end of 2016 the 60 percent exemption of reserve requirements for certain loans denominated in lira. The exempted funds may be used by banks to extend soft loans for housing or business financing. The loans that are subject to the extension are those that do not benefit from other interest subsidies by the State. The loans should be used to finance new projects or the expansion of existing projects in the productive sectors (as specified by BDL, such as industry, agriculture, technology, and others). Construction or service sectors do not benefit from these loans. L0216-11 MONEYLENDERS REGULATED BY THE CENTRAL BANK The Central Bank (BDL) has imposed a range of new restrictions on money lending businesses, placing them more closely…

9 min
official business

MINISTRY SEEKS TO MANAGE MOBILE NETWORKS The Ministry of Telecom (MoT) is seeking to obtain the Council of Ministers’ mandate to temporarily manage the two mobile networks until a new tender to select the permanent operators is completed. Until this authorization is obtained, the MoT may extend the contracts of the two mobile operators, said a source at the MoT. Last week the contracts of the Kuwait-based Zain Group (operating Touch) and Egypt’s Orascom (operating Alfa) were extended to the end of February. The extensions are occurring on a month-to-month basis. According to a source close to the MoT, if the authorization is given by the Council of Ministers, the contracts of Alfa and Touch will be terminated and their top managers will be dismissed. Other employees would remain in their…

15 min
matters of fact

WORLD BANK: 2.5 PERCENT GROWTH IN 2016 The economy is expected to grow by 2.5 percent in 2016. It is estimated that it grew by two percent last year, the World Bank (WB) said in a recent report. This forecasted improvement may be attributed to higher consumption growth, thanks to declining oil and food prices and the large numbers of refugees and related public expenditures, according to the WB’s Global Economic Prospects report. The country will benefit from export opportunities to Iran, after the lifting of the embargo. Iran’s economy will be witnessing growth as Lebanese banks are showing an interest in operating there, the WB said. Nicholas Nahas, former Minister of Economy and Trade, said that the Central Bank’s economic stimulus package contributes to this expected growth improvement as well…