Economy - Abboud: Lebanon belongs to all not just to wealthy
 

Fri 11/05/2012 11:51

NNA - 11/5/2012 Tourism Minister Fadi abboud Friday said Beirut is in need of 4 and 3 stars hotels since the adopted promotion policy ought to touch people of different incomes in Lebanon.

"Lebanon belongs to all categories and not just to the wealthy," Abboud said during the inauguration of the Midtown hotel in Hamra, Beirut.

The Minister said that Lebanese tourism sector witnessed a 25% increase in the first four months of the current year.

"Lebanon is the safest country in the region and it is fully prepared to receive tourists," he concluded.
L.W.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Economy - Sabonjian: for partnership with ESCWA to attain developmental aspirations
 

Wed 9/05/2012 20:47

NNA - 9/5/2012 Industry Minister Vrej Sabonjian underlined the importance of cementing partnership between ESCWA and Arab countries to attain Arab peoples' socio-economic and developmental aspirations, in accordance with each country's developmental priorities.

Minister Sabonjian chaired Lebanon's delegation to the 27th round of sessions by ESCWA which convened on Wednesday morning at ESCWA headquarters in Beirut.

The meeting took place by ESCWA Ministerial Committee, chaired by current session head, UAE Economy Minister Sultan Ben Saeed Al-Mansouri, in presence of heads of member delegations and ESCWA Executive Secretary Rima Khalaf.

Conferees discussed an array of items on session agenda, endorsing a series of recommendations including proposing a decision to "accept the inclusion of Tunisia, Libya and Morocco to the Committee membership."
---------------L.Y

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Economy - Nahhas, Eichhorst tackle buttressing bilateral ties
 

Thu 3/05/2012 11:05

NNA - 3/5/2012 - Economy and Trade Minister Nicolas Nahhas Thursday engaged in talks concerning bolstering economic ties with the EU during his meeting with Ambassador Angelina Eichhorst.

The meeting came at the backdrop of the subcommittee talks the EU and Lebanon are holding to discuss reforms in the country.
Trade,iIndustry and services; internal markets; and research, innovation, information society, education and culture are the main topics which both sides will skim through.

These talks fall within series of meetings dedicated to review ongoing developments within the implementation of the Lebanese European neighboring policy.

Hence, it shall confirm Lebanon's commitment to its partnership with the EU for the benefit of the Lebanese government reform program.
L.W.

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Economy - Ghosn pushes workers, employees, students to join tomorrow's strike
 

Wed 2/05/2012 21:30

NNA - 02/05/2012 - The General Labor Confederation (GLC) head, Ghassan Ghosn, urged Wednesday all the Lebanese workers, employees, and students to join the strike scheduled for tomorrow Thursday.

According to a statement by the GLC, tomorrow's strike calls for the following:

1 - Consider a price ceiling for gasoline and eliminate fuel taxes.
2 - Ensure the public transport sector with the right to cover all of the Lebanese regions.
3 - Avoid citizen's humiliation before the doors of hospitals.
4 - Adjust the salaries of public sector employees.
5 - Preserve domestic industry and strengthen competition by boosting production and subsequently ensuring workers with the right of survivorship.
6 - Provide farmers with their rights.
7 - Strengthen cooperation.
8 - Protect the rights of taxi drivers by developing a comprehensive national plan.
9 - Provide social security coverage for all social classes, including fishermen and tobacco farmers.
R.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Economy - Opening Industrial Vocations Forum in Khan Franj
 

Wed 2/05/2012 19:32

NNA - 02/05/2012 - Industry Ministry and the European Union for Development, in association with the Education Ministry, opened on Wednesday the Industrial Vocations Forum, in presence of Industry Minister Vrej Sabounjian and other dignitaries, at Khan Ifranj in Sidon.

Sabounjian gave a word during the event, stressing the necessity for developing the policy of integration between job opportunities and educated youth.
A.M.

 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Economy - Bus tour for Public Works committee in Beirut
 

Wed 2/05/2012 19:10

NNA - 02/05/2012 - The Public Works and Transportation Committee, represented by its chairman Deputy Muhammad Qabbani and its deputy members, toured in a bus in Beirut joined by Public Works and Transportation Minister Ghazi Aridi, director general for Land and Sea Transportation Abdul Hafiz Qaissi and other dignitaries.
The tour started from the frontyard of the House of Parliament at Nejmeh Square, and passed across Manara, Rawche, Korniche Mazraa, Nahr, Mar Mikhael, reaching the House of Parliament. In this tour, the officials inaugurated 47 buses which will be used along with other repaired buses. Also, it has been disclosed that there was a bid to buy 250 new buses for public transportation that would abide by international standards for transportation.
A.M

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Economy (Corrected)- Ghosn: Workers of Lebanon unite!
 

Tue 1/05/2012 14:38

NNA - 01/05/2012 Labor Day was a podium for Head of the General Labor Confederation (GLC), Ghassan Ghosn, to call upon all Lebanese workers to come together Thursday in a general strike against soaring fuel prices, miserable public transportation plans, and cabinet corruption, highlighting his utter refusal of any increase on Value Added Tax (VAT), during an expanded meeting held at GLC headquarters Tuesday.

A general strike has been brewing in the past period, fueled by popular rage against dire socioeconomic conditions. The strike presses on as scheduled upcoming Thursday, May 3, with demands including removing tax on fuel, allowing use of cheaper and environmentally-healthy alternative energy, organizing a transportation plan for workers, halting hospital owners from closing doors in face of National Social Security Fund patients.

"Defend your right for a dignified life," he said in an address to laborers on their day, "the general strike includes all public and private institutions, public and private administrations and the airport and covers all Lebanese regions."

Ghosn threatened the cabinet his confederation would not stand silently idle against its corruption.

"The GLC announces refusal to any proposal aiming at increasing VAT, and warns the cabinet against repeating previous tragic experience which drained citizens' purchasing capacity."
R.Z.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Economy - Ghosn: Workers of Lebanon unite!
 

Tue 1/05/2012 14:34

NNA - 01/05/2012 Labor Day was a podium for Head of the General Labor Confederation (GLC), Ghassan Ghosn, to call upon all Lebanese workers to come together Thursday in a general strike against soaring fuel prices, miserable public transportation plans, and cabinet corruption, highlighting his utter refusal of any increase on Value Added Tax (VAT), during an expanded meeting held at GLC headquarters Monday.
A general strike has been brewing in the past period, fueled by popular rage against dire socioeconomic conditions. The strike presses on as scheduled upcoming Thursday, May 3, with demands including removing tax on fuel, allowing use of cheaper and environmentally-healthy alternative energy, organizing a transportation plan for workers, halting hospital owners from closing doors in face of National Social Security Fund patients.
"Defend your right for a dignified life," he said in an address to laborers on their day, "the general strike includes all public and private institutions, public and private administrations and the airport and covers all Lebanese regions."

Ghosn threatened the cabinet his confederation would not stand silently idle against its corruption.

"The GLC announces refusal to any proposal aiming at increasing VAT, and warns the cabinet against repeating previous tragic experience which drained citizens' purchasing capacity."
R.Z.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Economy - Nahhas discusses fuel prices: the problem is international
 

Tue 1/05/2012 13:00


NNA - 01/05/2012 - Minister of Economy and Trade, Nicolas Nahhas, said Tuesday that the case of soaring fuel prices is on an international scale, not solely in Lebanon.

The Minister added that the state bore the heaviest burden in this matter, leaving the possibility of future fuel price reduction open, pending international changes.

Nahhas, who considered that the general strike called for by various syndicates on Thursday not to be a solution to the problem, did not overlook the possibility that the national budget has an outlet to the crisis.

Finally, the Minister stressed the responsibility of government to find a solution to price inflation, especially that of fuel.

 

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Economy - Jreisati: no politicization for objections regarding hospitals
 

Mon 30/04/2012 20:02


NNA - 30/04/2012 - Labor Minister Salim Jreissati assured that there were nothing hidden or any politicization for protesting moves, especially regarding private hospitals issue.

The minister chaired on Monday a meeting for the Permanent Dialogue between Production Agents committee, attended by head of the General Labor Confederation Ghassan Ghosn, Head of the Industry and Trade Chamber Muhammad Shukair, Director general of National Social Security Fund Muhammad Karaki, representatives of the Ministries of Finance, Labor, Economy, Trade, and Public Health, Chief of the Syndicate of Private Hospitals Owners in Lebanon Sleiman Haroun, and others.

"We are still on an advancing stage of negotiation. Proposals are very advancing and intentions are good to utmost level," Jreisati assured the audience.
In response to a question by media representatives, the minister said that he did not receive any pledge from private hospitals "that they will resume receiving socially secured patients into hospitals."

Separately, Jreisati met at his office with Egyptian Foreign Minister Assistant for Consular Affairs Ahmad Ragheb, in presence of Egyptian Ambassador Muhammad Toufic.
A.M>

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Economy - (Corrected) New Blackberry offers for reduced prices
 

Mon 30/04/2012 18:31

NNA - 30/4/2012 - Minister of Telecommunications, Nicolas Sehnaoui, launched Monday the bouquet of new Blackberry services for reduced prices at La Sagesse University, in presence of Rector Father Camille Moubarak, Chairman of Alfa, Marwan Hayek, and the Director General of Touch Company, Claude Bassil.

Prices are now reduced by 65 to 70% per one MB, as indicated by the Minister in a word he delivered on the occasion.

"The measures we are taking at the Ministry of Telecommunications basically aim to be advantageous to the young generation of new technology which opens wide horizons at the labor market and creates thousands of opportunities," he said.

"In a nutshell, all the strategies that we draw and put are for the youth," he corroborated.

He also noted that new programs and procedures would be announced within the coming few weeks, such as the heavy users companies' networks fulfilling the conditions of light fibers, the digital city, the smart tablets for students, and other projects prone to contribute to creating job opportunities and curbing emigration.

He also announced that the decree on free internet between midnight and 7:00 am will be effective as of forthcoming Thursday following its publication in the official gazette.


 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Economy - New Blackberry offers for reduced prices
 

Mon 30/04/2012 18:26

NNA - 30/4/2012 - Minister of Telecommunications, Nicolas Sehnaoui, launched Monday the bouquet of new Blackberry services for reduced prices at La Sagesse University, in presence of Rector Father Camille Moubarak, Chairman of Alfa, Marwan Hayek, and the Director General of Touch Company, Claude Bassil.

Prices are now reduced by 65 to 70% per one MB, as indicated by the Minister in a word he delivered on the occasion.

"The measures we are taking at the Ministry of Telecommunications basically aim to be advantageous to the young generation of new technology which opens wide horizons at the labor market and create thousands of opportunities," he said.

"In a nutshell, all the strategies that we draw and put are for the youth," he corroborated.

He also noted that new programs and procedures would be announced within the coming few weeks, such as the heavy users companies' networks fulfilling the conditions of light fibers, the digital city, the smart tablets for students, and other projects prone to contribute to creating job opportunities and curbing emigration.

He also announced that the decree on free internet between midnight and 7:00 am will be effective as of forthcoming Thursday following its publication in the official gazette.


 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Economy - Nahas, Roknabadi tackle Lebanese-Iranian joint committees' meetings
 

Tue 17/04/2012 12:15

NNA - 17/4/2012 - Economy and Trade Minister Nicolas Nahas received Tuesday the Iranian Ambassador to Lebanon, Ghazanfar Roknabadi, with talks touching on the ongoing preparations for the Lebanese-Iranian joint parliamentary committees.

Discussions touched on means to reactivate cooperation between the two countries and put into action the agreements and memos signed between Lebanon and Iran.
D.K.

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Economy - Harb welcoming Maronite league's economic project
 

Fri 13/04/2012 12:46


NNA - 13/4/2012- Leading March 14 MP Boutros Harb welcomed the Maronite League's fresh position regarding the establishment of a free tax economic zone in Batroun.

Harb and, in a public statement today, described the Maronite league's proposed economic zone as inducive to launching a major economic activity in Batroun and round about.

He spoke about top- of-the line clean technologies benefiting the district in addition to generating multiple job opportunities for major social economic development.

The project according to Harb constitutes a pioneering model for the whole of Lebanon in view of included material incentives such as tax exemption conducive to further investment.

Harb spoke highly about project laying the infrastructure for an electronic industry, by this, he added that Lebanese youth would not emigrate in quest of work anymore .

He officially announced the adoption of the project and that he would remain in contact with the league in order to pursue the matter in Parliament.

G.G/N.AF

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Economy - Safadi takes up Lebanese-Canadian cooperation
 

Thu 12/04/2012 16:00

NNA - 12/4/2012 - Minister of Finance, Mohammad Safadi, on Thursday ventured into the means to bolster economic ties with Canada and help the Canadian companies invest in Lebanon.

The Minister held a meeting today at his ministerial office with the Canadian Ambassador to Lebanon, Hilary Childs-Adams, and an accompanying delegation from the Canadian private sector.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Economy - Nahas, Hajj Hassan follow up food safety law study
 

Thu 12/04/2012 13:29

NNA - 12/4/2012 - Economy and Trade Minister Nicolas Nahas held a meeting Wednesday evening with Agriculture Minister Hussein Hajj Hassan to study the food safety draft law.

In the wake of the meeting, Nahas said this law was being studied meticulously so as to come up with a final formula and a new mechanism which reactivates control on food products.

Nahas noted that some journalists were publicizing misleading information pertaining to food safety, what tampered with Lebanon's economy, calling for keeping this dossier out of media debates.

Hajj Hassan, for his part, said the meeting was aimed at studying the project and closing the gaps which prevailed over the old food control system, promising the Lebanese that supervision will be implemented henceforth on all food products.
D.K.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Economy - Jreissati, WB delegation meet
 

Wed 11/04/2012 16:54

NNA - 11/4/2012 - Minister of Labor, Salim Jreissati, on Wednesday met with a delegation of the World Bank, comprised of the Director of the Social Protection Office in MENA region, Yasser Al-Jammal, and the Director of Human Development, Hanin Sayyed.

The Minister heaped praised on the efforts exerted by the World Bank to uphold the social and economic reforms in Lebanon, especially pertaining to the projects on social protection and the creation of job opportunities for the youth.

The meeting reportedly shed light on the necessity to reactivate coordination between the WB and the Ministry so as to step up work with a view to endorsing the social protection and old age pension system.
 

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Economy - Kanaan tackles financial affairs with World Bank delegation
 

Wed 11/04/2012 14:41

NNA - 11/4/2012 - Deputy Ibrahim Kanaan held a meeting Wednesday with a delegation of the World Bank comprised of experts and economists with talks featuring high on means of financial support and economic development in Lebanon so as to boost fiscal system.

Discussions touched on the budget issue and ways to introduce the necessary reforms through the World Bank's assistance.
D.K.

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Economy - Khoury holds meeting for destroying rotten material
 

Tue 10/04/2012 21:19

NNA - 10/04/2012 - Environment Minister, Nazem Khoury, held on Tuesday a joint meeting with Public Health Minister, Ali Hassan Khalil, Economy Minister, Nicholas Nahhas, representative of Agriculture Minister, Muhammad Al-Khansa, and others, to discuss the appropriate procedure for destroying expired medicines and food substances.

Separately, Khoury met at his office with US Ambassador, Maura Connelly, and discussed with her means of bilateral cooperation on the environmental level.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Economy - Sabounjian, economic delegation meet
 

Tue 10/04/2012 16:05

NNA - 10/4/2012 - Minister of Industry, Vrej Sabounjian, on Tuesday met with an economic delegation, over an array of affairs relevant to the increase of NSSF subscription fees and the likely toll such a step would take on those unable to bear higher costs amid the current economic hardship.

The delegation comprised the Head of the Lebanese Industrialists Association, Nehmet Efram; vice chairman of the National Social Security Fund (NSSF), Ghazi Yahia; and member of the socioeconomic committee at the Industrialists Association, Khalil Sherri.

"We discussed the concerns of industrialists; there was an elaborate and technical explanation of the impossibility that industrialists pay any additional fees to the NSSF," Sabounjian said following the meeting.

He said that the meeting skimmed through the solutions and practical alternatives that would spare industrialists and businessmen extra burdens and that would have no impact on the performance of the NSSF and the services it provides.
For his part, Efram avowed that the sector of industry was incapable of affording additional fees, especially as wage adjustment was approved amid a continuous hike of energy costs and the instability of neighboring markets.

"This would only weaken our competitiveness," he said.

He made it clear that Minister Sabounjian was very understanding, hoping that he would lay this issue on-the-table inside the cabinet.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Economy - (corrected) Drivers Syndicate in the north confirms strike on April 19
 

Thu 5/04/2012 22:03

NNA - 5/4/2012 Drivers Syndicate in the North held a general assembly meeting at the Municipal Rashid Karami Cultural Center on Thursday, to discuss north Lebanon drivers' forthcoming strike on April 19.

Ground Transportation Union Head in Lebanon Abdel Amir Najdeh confirmed that the Syndicate shall go on with its strike on April 19 if drivers' righteous demands are not met.

Najdeh also called on the Prime Minister to set up a committee to set benzene prices on weekly basis.
--------------L.Y

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Economy - Drivers Syndicate in the north confirms strike April 19
 

Thu 5/04/2012 21:25

NNA - 5/4/2012 Drivers Syndicate in the North held a general assembly meeting at the Municipal Rashid Karami Cultural Center on Thursday, to discuss north Lebanon drivers' forthcoming strike on April 19.

Ground Transportation Union Head in Lebanon Abdel Amir Najdeh confirmed that the Syndicate shall go on with its strike on April 19 if drivers' righteous demands are not met.

Najdeh also called on the Prime Minister to set up a committee to set benzene prices on weekly basis.
--------------L.Y

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Economy - Safadi follows up array of affairs
 

Thu 5/04/2012 19:15

NNA - 5/4/2012 - Minister of Finance, Mohammad Safadi, on Thursday tackled an array of affairs with his itinerant visitors at his office in the Ministry.

He first met with Member of Parliament Robert Fadel over the current political and economic situation in the country.

The pair also discussed affairs relevant to Tripoli city.

Safadi later met with the Head of the Court of Audit, Judge Aouni Ramadan, and the Romanian Ambassador to Lebanon, Daniel Tanase.

The meeting reportedly featured high on the means to foster trade exchange between Lebanon and Romania.

Head of Jbeil municipalities union, Fadi Moratinos, also visited Safadi today for talks over the union's affairs.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Economy - Launching Lebanese Mediation Center in presence of Daouk
 

Wed 4/04/2012 18:44

NNA - 04/04/2012 - Head of the Trade, Industry and Agriculture Chamber in Beirut and Mount Lebanon, Muhammad Shukair, launched on Wednesday, in a press conference at Gefinor Rotana hotel in Beirut, the Lebanese Mediation Center, in presence of Information Minister Walid Daouk.
The center has already been established by said chamber in association with an international funding institution (IFC), and has been financed by the Swiss government.

Shoukair spoke high of the center as it would facilitate local and international commercial relations and encourage employment.
A.M>

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Economy - Safadi meets J.P. Morgan Bank delegation
 

Wed 4/04/2012 13:45

NNA - 4/4/2012 - Finance Minister Muhammad Safadi met Wednesday with a delegation of J.P. Morgan Bank accompanied by international investors. Discussions touched on economic and financial developments at both regional and international scenes, with special focus on their impact on Lebanon.

Conferees discussed as well the measures to be adopted by the Finance Ministry so as to limit the repercussions of the world economic recession on the Lebanese economy.
D.K.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Economy - Abboud tackles means to encourage Becharre tourism sites
 

Wed 4/04/2012 13:20


NNA - 4/4/2012 - Tourism Minister Fadi Abboud received Wednesday Becharre municipality head Antoine Al-Khoury Tawk with whom he discussed means to encourage tourism sites in Becharre region so as to draw tourists' attention.
D.K.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved

Economy - Sabounjian represents PM in conference on Globalization, Governance
 

Mon 2/04/2012 17:35

NNA - 2/4/2012 - Prime Minister Najib Mikati, represented by the Minister of Industry, Vrej Sabounjian, participated Monday in a conference on crises, globalization, and governance, held at the University of Holy Spirit in Kaslik (USEK), under the patronage of Lebanese President Michel Sleiman, represented by the Minister of Education and Higher Learning, Hassan Diab.

Speaking on the Premier's behalf, Minister Sabounjian said that holding similar conferences and symposiums indeed contributed to bolstering interaction and communication, especially through rational and calm discussions.

"Crises, globalization, and governance are three substantial terms but, to be honest, they are the nutshell of what perturbs our contemporary world and civilized society," he said, highlighting the necessity to make the best use of these three notions in order that they should combine in a well-entrenched chain advantageous to the development of peoples.

"Globalization is valuable for people as it removed impediments on all political, intellectual, economic, and cultural levels," he said, noting that it also has a destructive impact for it brings about monopolization and hegemony and dents the respect of ethics and transparency.

As to governance, the Minister said that this notion was indispensible as to the good implementation of sustainable development and that it complemented representative democracy.

"Crises, globalization, and governance are linked to the digital and technological revolution; we want this incessant revolution to continue to change the lifestyle and speed up integration, with human ties being preserved," he concluded.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved















 

Economy - Abboud explores food inspection methods with ministries
 

Mon 2/04/2012 16:54

NNA - 02/04/2012 - Tourism Minister Fady Abboud on Friday met at his office with food inspectors and monitors from Tourism and Economy and Trade Ministries, and food experts from Bureau Veritas Company.

He explored with them methods for inspecting food across tourism institutions and centers in Lebanon. Abboud said after the meeting, "We agreed on setting a procedure for inspection convoys that would be jointly organized by concerned ministries, notably the Economy and Trade Ministry, for the purpose of monitoring all tourism institutions."

Separately, Abboud received at his office the Tunisian Ambassador Muhammad Fawzi Ballout. Both discussed means of enhancing bilateral ties. Ballout conveyed to Abboud an invitation from Tunisia's President to participate in the sixth round of the upcoming tourism conference in Tunisia under title "The future of tourism in Mideast region."
A.M>

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Economy - Hajj Hassan, Cypriot diplomat tackle ties' development
 

Mon 2/04/2012 16:17

NNA - 2/4/2012 - Minister of Agriculture, Hussein Hajj Hassan, and the Cypriot Ambassador to Lebanon, Homer Mavrommatis, on Monday skimmed through the means to bolster the bilateral ties between both countries, namely on the level of agriculture.

The meeting took place at Hajj Hassan's ministerial office.

On the other hand, the Ministry of Agriculture inaugurated today, in collaboration with the companies of Lebanon's Plants and German Trifolio-M, a training workshop on the usage of pesticides of vegetarian origins.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved





 

Economy - Sabounjian represents PM in conference on Globalization, Governance
 

Mon 2/04/2012 17:35

NNA - 2/4/2012 - Prime Minister Najib Mikati, represented by the Minister of Industry, Vrej Sabounjian, participated Monday in a conference on crises, globalization, and governance, held at the University of Holy Spirit in Kaslik (USEK), under the patronage of Lebanese President Michel Sleiman, represented by the Minister of Education and Higher Learning, Hassan Diab.

Speaking on the Premier's behalf, Minister Sabounjian said that holding similar conferences and symposiums indeed contributed to bolstering interaction and communication, especially through rational and calm discussions.

"Crises, globalization, and governance are three substantial terms but, to be honest, they are the nutshell of what perturbs our contemporary world and civilized society," he said, highlighting the necessity to make the best use of these three notions in order that they should combine in a well-entrenched chain advantageous to the development of peoples.

"Globalization is valuable for people as it removed impediments on all political, intellectual, economic, and cultural levels," he said, noting that it also has a destructive impact for it brings about monopolization and hegemony and dents the respect of ethics and transparency.

As to governance, the Minister said that this notion was indispensible as to the good implementation of sustainable development and that it complemented representative democracy.

"Crises, globalization, and governance are linked to the digital and technological revolution; we want this incessant revolution to continue to change the lifestyle and speed up integration, with human ties being preserved," he concluded.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved















 

Economy - Abboud explores food inspection methods with ministries
 

Mon 2/04/2012 16:54

NNA - 02/04/2012 - Tourism Minister Fady Abboud on Friday met at his office with food inspectors and monitors from Tourism and Economy and Trade Ministries, and food experts from Bureau Veritas Company.

He explored with them methods for inspecting food across tourism institutions and centers in Lebanon. Abboud said after the meeting, "We agreed on setting a procedure for inspection convoys that would be jointly organized by concerned ministries, notably the Economy and Trade Ministry, for the purpose of monitoring all tourism institutions."

Separately, Abboud received at his office the Tunisian Ambassador Muhammad Fawzi Ballout. Both discussed means of enhancing bilateral ties. Ballout conveyed to Abboud an invitation from Tunisia's President to participate in the sixth round of the upcoming tourism conference in Tunisia under title "The future of tourism in Mideast region."
A.M>

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Economy - Hajj Hassan, Cypriot diplomat tackle ties' development
 

Mon 2/04/2012 16:17

NNA - 2/4/2012 - Minister of Agriculture, Hussein Hajj Hassan, and the Cypriot Ambassador to Lebanon, Homer Mavrommatis, on Monday skimmed through the means to bolster the bilateral ties between both countries, namely on the level of agriculture.

The meeting took place at Hajj Hassan's ministerial office.

On the other hand, the Ministry of Agriculture inaugurated today, in collaboration with the companies of Lebanon's Plants and German Trifolio-M, a training workshop on the usage of pesticides of vegetarian origins.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved





 

Economy - Khalil, Jreissati, doctors and hospitals' syndicates discuss medical rates
 

Fri 30/03/2012 18:46

Khalil and Labor Minister Selim Jreissati held a joint meeting on Friday with government medical support funds' representatives and Hospitals and Physicians' Syndicates, to discuss medical rates' modification, which shall be forwarded to the Ministerial Council in the form of a proposal for final decision.

The meeting agreed that private hospitals start receiving patients covered by NSSF as of today (Friday).

Speaking after the meeting, Minister Khalil stressed the importance of reaching a solution in this regard that satisfies all concerned sides, pointing out the need for medical rates' amendment.

Khalil also disclosed that Hospitals' Owners Syndicate shall demand from hospitals to start receiving patients covered by NSSF, which on its part shall work on speeding up requisite steps to pay arrears to hospitals.

Jreissati stressed the importance of safeguarding social security that goes in line with health security. He also disclosed that NSSF will hold a meeting this afternoon to continue discussing this matter, anticipating swift results in this regard.
--------------------L.Y

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Economy - Sabounjian supports local industries, calls for government backing
 

Fri 30/03/2012 17:03


NNA - 30/03/2012 Industry Minister, Vrej Sabounjian, asserted Friday the need for governmental support of local industries during a tour of plants in Jbeil (Byblos) upon invitation of Byblos Industrialist Association, announcing that both President Michel Sleiman and PM Najib Mikati are interested in development of industry, aiming at balanced development in the country.

The day long tour began eight in the morning, as the Minister, accompanied by President of the Industrialists Association, Nehme Efram, visited eight various plants. Afterwards, a meeting was held between Sabounjian, Environment Minister, Nazim Khoury, MPs Simon Abi Ramya and Aabass Hashim, and concerned industrialists.

"Lebanese industry...is a success story," said Sabounjian in a bid to reflect this positive reality to Lebanese public opinion.

"We export furniture to the USA and Gulf, metal pipes to Great Britain and Germany...food products to different countries." Sabounjian congratulated Lebanese industrialists, who have expanded their businesses abroad, for maintaining their factories in Lebanon, hence boosting local industries. "Their ambition allowed them to benefit from the basket of incentives provided by the Lebanese government through The Investment Development Authority of Lebanon, IDAL."

The Minister pushed for an improvement in day to day dealings between government and industrialists.

"It is imperative...to facilitate affairs of citizens in public administrations, so they feel the presence of the government by their side."

R.Z.

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Economy - Monday strike on suspension: Syndicate of Gas Station Owners
 

Fri 30/03/2012 15:59

NNA - 30/03/2012 The Syndicate of Gas Station Owners announced Friday the suspension of a strike previously planned for Monday, and extending over a three-day-period, in a show of good will towards pending negotiations with Energy Minister.
This decision was unanimously made after a meeting held between the Association of Petroleum Importing Companies, Syndicate of Gas Station Owners, and the Syndicate of Tank Owners. The gatherers stressed, nevertheless, that this suspension was not equivalent to a cancellation.

A meeting with Energy Minister, Gibran Bassil, is scheduled to take place Monday instead of the strike in a bid to find a midway between demands of increasing overall price of gas and the financial conditions of citizens.

R.Z.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Economy - Sehnawi: Telecom revenues distribution draft law en route to cabinet
 

Fri 30/03/2012 15:04

NNA - 30/3/2012 - Telecommunications Minister Nicolas Sehnawi announced Friday the details of the law draft on distributing revenues from the telecoms sector and establishing the municipal development institution, which are now en route to the cabinet.

The Minister held for this purpose a meeting at his ministerial office in presence of municipal unions' heads and representatives.

Sehnawi deemed as appropriate to hold more extended meetings with municipal delegations so as to prepare municipalities for managing these sums of money upon the ratification of the law draft.
D.K.

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Economy - Aridi, Turkish Transportation Minister tackle cooperation horizons
 

Thu 29/03/2012 21:59

NNA - 28/3/2012 Public Works and Transportation Minister Ghazi Aridi met on Thursday afternoon at his residence with his Turkish counterpart Benyali Yeldrem where they tackled issues of mutual concern and cooperation between the two ministries at the level of ground, sea and air transportation.

Following the visit, Aridi described Lebanese-Turkish relations as excellent, with coordination existing in all issues and aspects to ensure further productivity.

Yeldrem, for his part, said they boarded an array of transportation issues including the joint projects between the two countries and the maritime line between Mersin and Tripoli seaports.
-------------L.Y

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Economy - Tourism Minisry: Lebanon ranks third in tourism competition
 

Thu 29/03/2012 17:12

NNA - 29/03/2012 - Lebanon ranked the third in a competition, amongst 10 countries in the world, for the best place of vacations for the Holy Easter occasion, according to the press office of Tourism Ministry that quoted on Thursday a report by Reuters Agency.

The ministry considered that Lebanon's third ranking was so important that it would boost the religious tourism sector. It accordingly assured that Lebanon would hopefully receive many emigrants on upcoming Easter.
A.M

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Economy - Sovereign Debts Crisis in the Euro-Region forum
 

Thu 29/03/2012 15:07

NNA - 29/03/2012 - The General Union of Agriculture, Industry, and Commerce for Arab Countries, in association with Lebanon's Bank, opened on Thursday the forum under title "Sovereign Debts Crisis in the Euro-Region," under the auspices of Central Bank Governor Riad Salameh, at the headquarters of said union in Beirut.

Head of said union Adnan Qassar gave a word during the event, necessitating more coordination among Arab countries as concerning commercial, financial and tax policies, creating job opportunities for youth in these countries and ameliorating their livelihood situation, in order to face the accumulation of sovereign debts resulting from the world economic crisis of 2008.

Salameh, for his part, said any central bank of a country must seek to invent solutions, in order to face the repercussion of the economic crisis - much as the European central bank did in this concern.

Salameh highlighted the European policy favored by the stability of the exchange rate for Euro, as such would encourage investments in the region, and boost confidence and social stability. He concluded that Lebanon was on the track of adopting such policy.
A.M.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Economy - Sehanoui representing Sleiman: Digital economy hoists economic growth
 

Thu 29/03/2012 13:50

NNA - 29/3/2012 Telecommunications Minister Nicolas Sehanoui Thursday stressed the need to study third world experiences in employment of digital economy in order to raise growth rates.

"Courtiers have been capable of shrinking digital gap between them and industrial states with very reasonable rates," Sehanoui said during representing the Lebanese President, Prime Minister, and House Speaker at the 2012 ArabNet digital summit.

The Summit mainly caters to Web and mobile developers, industry leaders, business professionals and entrepreneurs.

"It is necessary that we approach digital economy by deeming it as a fundamental developmental motivation in order to transform it into a tool to developing our ambitions of our society to achieve digital communication," Sehanoui said.

The Minister said the Lebanese government took exceptional steps during the past 9 months to modernize infrastructure for the purpose of international and regional investment opportunities.

"Telecommunications sector achievements pushed Lebanon 12 years forward through moving from a 2G mobile network to the 3G, from the narrowband to the broadband," the Minister said.
Representing the Lebanese Central Bank governor Riyad Salemeh, vice head of the LCB Raed Sharaf Eddine said business sector and businesspersons achieved major growth in Lebanon and the region.

"Internet Technology (IT) is a great drive for the business revolution as it enables youth to compete worldwide," he said.

Sharaf Eddine also said that the LCB developed these entrepreneurs through the entrepreneurslebanon.com and with the support of the IT Strategy Unit and Telecommunications in the Cabinet presidency, the Cisco Entrepreneur Institute in AMIDEAST, and Endeavor Lebanon.

"The Entrepreneurslebanon ensures a unified central platform for communicating with other businesspersons, investors, and funders," he remarked.

Also, LCB vice head said the bank is cooperating with the World Bank on a study that entails Lebanon's competitive quality and ought to shed light on main sectors that should be focused on so as to pave way before direct investment.

L.W.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Economy - Abboud: No real intention by some to combat corruption
 

Wed 28/03/2012 19:57

NNA - 28/3/2012 Economy Minister Nicholas Nahhas disclosed that Prime Minister Najib Mikati has prepared an economic plan that requires national consensus as an element for its success.

Minister Nahhas was speaking at the inaugural ceremony of "Business and Finance Forum" at the Movenpick Hotel in Beirut on Wednesday, representing Prime Minister Najib Mikati.

The meeting was held by "Convex International" in cooperation with Lebanon's Central Bank, under the headline of "Restoring Confidence in Economy and Investments' Polarization."

The inaugural ceremony was attended by Minister Nahhas, Tourism Minister Fadi Abboud, Central Bank Governor Riad Salameh and concerned dignitaries.

Nahhas stressed that total security and stability are essential to ensure the success of an economic plan and reach a fixed Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

The Minister also disclosed that project laws currently underway create a legislative platform to encourage investments in Lebanon. He stressed the importance of modernizing laws related to financial markets and regulatory bodies.

Nahhas also stressed the necessity of supporting small and medium enterprises through activating quality policy, bracing exports and undergoing researches.
In his address, Minister Abboud said there exists no real intention by some sides in Lebanon to fight corruption due to political and confessional considerations.

He said that any accountability held in this regard is regarded as tantamount to a political target, hence politicized.

Abboud also brought to attention that he has put forward a number of practical proposals in the issue of combating corruption with every discussion of national budget.

"A genuine reform operation starts with the manner and mechanism of budget drawing," Abboud said, noting that the general budget constitutes one of the governmental work tools in face of the corruption phenomena.

Abboud also called for restoring confidence in economy and polarize investments, stressing the importance of combating corruption so that Lebanon would not loose an exceptional opportunity.

The Minister also called for putting illicit enrichment law into execution through the issuance of related regulatory decrees and speeding up the adoption of a comprehensive medical insurance project to all citizens.

It is to note that the Forum's first session sheds light on the issue of economic development through combating corruption and achieving social justice.

---------------L.Y

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Economy - Nahhas, Hajj Hassan follow up on food safety dossier
 

Wed 28/03/2012 19:26

NNA - 28/3/2012 - Ministers of Economy, Nicolas Nahhas, and Agriculture, Hussein Hajj Hassan, on Wednesday met to follow up on the much-heated dossier of food safety.

Hajj Hassan revealed that the ratio of detected expired food barely reached 3% of food products traded in markets.

Accordingly, he called upon Medias not to exaggerate on this level and to convey a precise and accurate image and figures, in order that national economy should not be tampered with.

He explained that foods undergo three stages: production, stockpiling, and retail selling.

"The first stage is controlled by 95% and the other two steps require more work," he said, adding that a huge number of merchants refuse that control be conducted over stocks.

But the Minister made clear that 80% of the stockpiling operations were sound.

For his part, Minister Nahhas said that food safety had pushed concerned authorities to take 30 key initiatives and set draft laws and projects decrees related.
 

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Economy - Nicholas, Charbel dwell on water tanker owners' tight conditions
 

Wed 28/03/2012 19:03

NNA - 28/03/2012 - Reform and Change bloc Leader MP Nabil Nicholas along with a delegation of water tanker trucks' owners met on Wednesday with Interior and Municipalities Minister Marwan Charbel.

The visiting delegation briefed Charbel on their tight living conditions and their inability to pay their yearly mechanic dues.

Charbel duly promised to have the ministry pay for this year pending a legal solution to other late dues.
R.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Economy - Abboud: No real intention by some to combat corruption
 

Wed 28/03/2012 18:34

NNA - 28/3/2012 Tourism Minister Fadi Abboud said there exists no real intention by some sides in Lebanon to fight corruption due to political and confessional considerations.

Minister Abboud's words came in his address at "Business and Finance Forum" at the Movenpick Hotel in Beirut on Wednesday, under the patronage of Prime Minister Najib Mikati represented by Economy Minister Nicholas Nahhas, in cooperation with Lebanon's Central Bank.

The Forum meeting sheds light on the issue of economic development through combating corruption and achieving social justice.

"There exists no efficient means to combat corruption," Abboud said, indicating that any accountability held in this regard is regarded as tantamount to a political target, hence politicized.

Abboud also brought to attention that he has put forward a number of practical proposals in the issue of combating corruption with every discussion of national budget.

"A genuine reform operation starts with the manner and mechanism of budget drawing," Abboud said, noting that the general budget constitutes one of the governmental work tools in face of the corruption phenomena.
Abboud also called for restoring confidence in economy and polarize investments, stressing the importance of combating corruption so that Lebanon would not loose an exceptional opportunity.

The Minister also called for putting illicit enrichment law into execution through the issuance of related regulatory decrees and speeding up the adoption of a comprehensive medical insurance project to all citizens.
---------------L.Y

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Economy - Jreissati, Municipalities Workers' Union meet
 

Wed 28/03/2012 16:36


NNA - 28/03/2012 - Labor Minister Salim Jreissati discussed on Wednesday with the union of Municipalities Employees' Syndicate the dossier of including these employees in the National Social Security Fund (NSSF).
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Economy - Khalil sees chance to solve hospitals, NSSF plight
 

Wed 28/03/2012 16:11

NNA - 28/3/2012 - Minister of Public Health, Ali Hassan Khalil, said Wednesday there might be a chance to reach a settlement between hospitals and the National Social Security Fund over the querulous issue on medical fees.

The Minister chaired today at his ministerial office a meeting for the committee including representatives of the NSSF and hospital owners, devoted to skim through the demands of hospitals and narrow differences, after discussing a report by the ad-hoc committee on adjusting medical rates.

A considerable number of private hospitals said they would stop treating patients covered by the NSSF for one week unless the fund agreed to raise the rates leveled on these patients, except for critical cases.

The NSSF currently pays LL29, 000 per day for overnight hospital patients, a sum that hospitals see insufficient amid a hiking high cost of living.

"Today's meeting tackled the strike currently taking place due to differences over medical rates and it was an opportunity to discuss the report set by the medical consultative committee hereby suggesting to raise the rates," the Minister said following the meeting.

He said that there was clear readiness to adjust fees and that a joint meeting would be held between NSSF representatives and the syndicates of doctors and hospital owners, in presence of Labor Minister Salim Jreissati.

This meeting, to take place Friday at the Ministry of Public Health, is expected to narrow existing differences and result into an agreement over sought adjustment, with a view to a due recourse to the cabinet.

Khalil said this item would be raised during today's cabinet session in Baabda palace.

He called upon hospitals to reopen doors to patients covered by the NSSF.

Before the meeting, Khalil had met with the head of hospital owners syndicate, Suleiman Haroun, and the head of doctors' syndicate, Sharaf Abu Sharaf.
 

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Economy - Abboud, French delegation review means of investment
 

Wed 28/03/2012 14:37

NNA - 28/3/2012 - A delegation of French investors, accompanied by State Minister Marwan Khaireddine, had been Wednesday to the Ministry of Tourism to hash out investment opportunities in Lebanon with Minister Fadi Abboud.

Earlier today, the delegation had visited the Prime Minister and a number of Ministries to skim through the means to foster investments in Lebanon, mainly at the level of tourism.
 

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Economy - Land transportation unions tackle preparations for April 19th strike
 

Wed 28/03/2012 14:29

NNA - 28/3/2012 - Land transportation unions and syndicates held on Wednesday a meeting to discuss the preparations underway and the adopted measures to stage strike on April 19.

Conferees confirmed that they will cling to their demands and consider the general assembly's decision for strike as binding to all syndical committees in the transportation sector.

The main demand of said unions was to fix a ceiling for the benzene canister price (25000 LL) and the diesel price (20000 LL).

Conferees called for executing the government's decision stipulating the ratification of the transportation plan and the issuance of related decrees and decisions, the soonest possible.
D.K.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Economy - Sabounjian meets Algerian Ambassador
 

Wed 28/03/2012 14:05

NNA - 28/3/2012 Industry Minister Vrej Sabounjian Wednesday tackled Lebanese-Algerian means of cooperation during his meeting with the Algerian Ambassador Ibrahim Bin Audi Hassi.

Both men went over the best means to ensure better cooperation on the economic level in favor of both countries.

Aoudi Hassi uttered appreciation for the Minister's endeavors to establish a businessmen cooperation and friendship committee.

L.W.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved






 

Economy - Aridi meets Fadlallah, Abi Nasr
 

Wed 28/03/2012 13:12

NNA - 28/3/2012 - Public Works and Transportation Minister Ghazi Aridi discussed developmental demands and Ministry-conducted works in South Lebanon during his meeting with MP Hassan Fadlallah.

Aridi also met with MP Naamtallah Abi Nasr with whom he tackled pending developmental dossiers due to budget delay.
 

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Economy - Abboud doubts authenticity of public accounts
 

Wed 28/03/2012 13:11

NNA - 28/3/2012 - Tourism Minister Fadi Abboud told OTV station that there are serious questions about the authenticity of the accounts of the public finances from 1993 which the news media talked about recently.

"It is obvious that these public finance figures are questionable because there was no attempt to apply any transparency procedures in these departments since 1993. The World Bank report on this matter is the biggest prove," Abboud said.

He explained that the World Bank said that all the public accounts dating from 1993 were subject to change and alteration.

The minister stressed that it was still not clear how the donations for the previous governments were spent because they were not listed in the categories of revenues and expenditures and this by itself is a violation of the law.

Abboud proposed the World Bank or other international agencies to review and assess all the accounts of the Finance Ministry since 1993 to verify their validity and accuracy.

He also voiced his support for Energy and Water Minister Gibran Bassil's plan to lease electricity generation boats.

"All what I care about is that the Lebanese people will not get lost. These boats are not Bassil's invention but were part of a plan submitted by the minister. This issue should be discussed in the Cabinet," Abboud said.

He also defended Culture Minister Gaby Layyon's position concerning the Roman ruins in Beirut Central District, accusing Solidere of dismantling four historic sites in the down town in 1995 and 1996.

Abboud refused to portray Lebanon as a haven for spoiled and decayed food, assuring that the situation now is under control.

The minister added that he filed a law suit against certain parties which distributed a false list of restaurants that served spoiled food.

"These accusations are unfounded. Lebanon is still one of the safest countries in terms of food safety."
O.H

NNA 2012 All rights reserved
 

 

 


 

Economy - Developmental affairs highlight Aridi's meetings
 

Mon 26/03/2012 15:52

NNA - 26/3/2012 - Public works and Transportation Minister Ghazi Aridi Monday tackled developmental dossiers with Agriculture Minister Hussein Hajj Hassan, in presence of Deputy Nawar Sahili.

The meeting was an occasion to go over local and regional developments and to discuss the issue of rotten and expired food products.

In addition, Aridi discussed with a delegation of the General Labor Confederation (GLC) headed by Ghassan Ghosn public transport project which is a key requirement for those with limited income.

"If concerned sides showed no positivity in addressing country's affairs, we will do it ourselves," he warned, saying that the meeting with Minister Aridi was aimed at proposing once again the public transportation file which has been submitted to the cabinet over three years ago.

He stressed that in light of fuel costs increase, a ceiling for prices and a cancellation of VAT now seemed necessary.

On a different note, MP Simon Abi Ramia invited Minister Aridi to attend the conference on development, scheduled for April 5th at the Parliament.

Amongst Aridi's visitors were also Deputies Fadi Haber and Michel Moussa, Chinese Ambassador to Lebanon, Wu Zexian, municipal councils' delegation, the General Director of land and sea transportation, Kayssi Abdel Hafiz, and other dignitaries.
D.K.

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Economy - Abboud briefed on naval tourism sector problems
 

Mon 26/03/2012 14:20

NNA - 26/3/2012 Tourism Minister Fadi Abboud Monday discussed naval tourism sector situation during his meeting with the naval tourism institutions head, Jean Beiruti.

Beiruti briefed Abboud on the sector's problems especially within prevailing food crisis that, in his words, might severely impinge on tourism in Lebanon.
L.W.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


 

Economy - Nahhas: Government to launch a socio-economic development project soon
 

Sat 24/03/2012 20:56

NNA - 24/3/2012 - Economy and Trade Minister, Nicholas Nahhas, declared that the Lebanese government is on the verge of launching a comprehensive socio-economic development project within the upcoming few days that would limit regression in economic growth.
Lecturing on "Lebanese economy future forecasting" at the Beirut Arab University on Saturday, Nahhas highlighted the need for coming-up with laws that would match the current period's conditions and funding capabilities; in addition to opening-up to economic initiatives and ideas beneficial to Lebanon. Nahhas encouraged, herein, universities to advice students towards specialties that cater to the market's needs.
Nahhas shed light on the Lebanese economic situation in all its facets, summarizing the factors and foundations that ought to adopted in order to ensure this sector's success. Referring to the period between 2006 and 2010, Nahhas considered it to be one of stability at the economic level in light of the stable ambience surrounding Lebanon at the time. "Moreover, and due to the world economic crisis, funds flowed into the Lebanese banking sector; thus, resulting in the economy's growth increase by 8-9 percent," said Nahhas. "Such a flourishing growth helped the Lebanese economy overcome its dangers and resulted in diminishing public debts from 170% to 130%," Nahhas added.
"However, the year 2011 registered regression in economic growth from 9 to 1.50%; thus, leaving no room for any proposed economic plans," noted Nahhas. He explained that the Lebanese economy relies on 4 major factors, namely the fields of construction, services, tourism and outside funds. Accordingly, Nahhas indicated that any deterioration in these domains, in the wake of security and political developments in the surrounding region, would naturally reflect negatively on the country's economic growth; especially in the absence of productive agricultural and industrial sectors.
 

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Economy - Hajj Hasan launching workshop in Zahle
 

Sat 24/03/2012 13:15

NNA - 24/03/2012 - Minister of Agriculture Hussein Hajj Hasan launched a workshop for the amelioration of seedling-planting at the Zahle Chamber of Trade and Commerce in presence of FAO and leading business representatives.

The Minister spoke about the importance of seedling-planting in agricultural development and vowed to give similar future activities ample media coverage. He expressed satisfaction with the present state of Lebanese Green Houses and the agricultural sector in general.

The Minister implored agricultural business owners to join hands with the Ministry in expanding green houses all over the Bekaa.
G.G./P.BC.

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Economy - Eichhorst, Nahhas: to fortify EU-Lebanese cooperation
 

Fri 23/03/2012 19:24

NNA - 23/03/2012 Delegation of the European Union to Lebanon organized Friday the EU-Lebanon Cooperation Days at the Hall of the Lebanese University Central Administration, showcasing programs that the EU and its Member States are funding in Lebanon in presence of European Union Ambassador to Lebanon Angelina Eichhorst and Economy and Trade Minister Nicholas Nahhas.

A host of European and Lebanese figures were present at the conference, including ambassadors of the Netherlands, Spain and Romania.

"The European Union is one of the main donors to Lebanon. It allocates about 220 million Euros annually in assistance to the country," explained Eichhorst. 50 million of said funds are from the European Commission, 50 million Euros from the EU Member States and 120 million Euros in loans from the European Investment Bank.

"Europe's new neighboring policy aims at fortifying our political partnership, and our support for democracy and sustainable development."

In turn, Minister Nahhas highlighted the importance of strengthening this partnership between Lebanon and the EU, which ultimately benefits the reform program of the Lebanese state.



R.Z.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Economy - Lebanon, Georgia sign memorandum of cooperation
 

Fri 23/03/2012 17:45

NNA - 23/03/2012 Lebanon and Georgia initiated Friday a serious process of cooperation with the signing of a memorandum between Lebanese and Georgian Chambers of Commerce at a ceremony held at M?venpick Hotel, Beirut.

Prime Minister of Georgia, Nika Gilauri, said that his country was a pioneer in administrative reform and openness to foreign investments.

"Lebanon has a pivotal role in enhancing the services sector in Georgia, particularly tourism and banking."

R.Z.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Economy - Lebanon seeks investments in Georgia
 

Fri 23/03/2012 17:32

NNA - 23/03/2012 Lebanon finds investment potential in Georgia, following a meeting Friday between Georgian PM, Nika Gilauri, and a delegation of Arab Businessmen and Engineers Council.

Gilarui is on an official visit to Lebanon, whereby he has met a number of prominent Lebanese political figures. Today's meeting with the delegation took place at Movenpick Hotel in presence of Head of Georgia's Chamber of Commerce.

"[I invited the Council] to visit Georgia, where they will be given all necessary facilities for carrying out proposed projects," said the PM.



R.Z.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Economy - National Roaming service launches under Sehnaoui's patronage
 

Fri 23/03/2012 17:04

NNA - 23/03/2012 Telecommunications Minister, Nicholas Sehnaoui, revealed Friday that Lebanon has been catapulted twelve years into the future of technology with the launching of National Roaming services.

Touch telecom company, formerly known as MTC Touch, launched today the National Roaming service which allows a mobile phone subscribed with Alfa network to switch to Touch in case of loss of signal. Alfa also plans to launch the same service by the end of March.

Touch team demonstrated National Roaming on Kharbeh-Lehfed road, north of the country, in presence of Sehnaoui and MP Simon Abi Ramya. The Minister proceeded to contact both Prime Minister Najib Mikati, and MP Michel Aoun, to inform them of the success of the operation.
Sehnaoui revealed to the press that this service was part of a large scale campaign to improve telecommunication sector, as promised by his ministry.

R.Z.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Economy - Hajj Hassan sees Lebanese-Italian cooperation turning point in exportation to Europe
 

Fri 23/03/2012 16:37

NNA - 23/3/2012 - Minister of Agriculture, Hussein Hajj Hassan, on Friday said the fruitful cooperation between Lebanon and Italy on the level of agriculture highlights a turning point in the exportation towards Europe.

"Grapes and cherries are exported and Europe will allow the access of potatoes to markets," he said.

The Minister said that the efforts exerted by the Ministry of Agriculture and the department of scientific agricultural research allowed to strike Lebanon off the list of banned exportations towards Europe.

"The Lebanese honey can properly enter European markets, after being tested in Italy," the Minister announced, deeming such success as clear evidence on the healthiness of the food situation in Lebanon, despite many irregularities.

Hajj Hassan made these remarks during his meeting today with the Director General of IAM, Bari Cosimo Lacirignola, Director of the Italian cooperation bureau, Head of Beirut Commerce, Industry and Agriculture Chamber Mohammad Shoucair, and other personalities, in presence of the Secretary General of the National Center for Scientific Research, Mouein Hamza.
 

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Economy - Sabounjian patronizes Lebanese-Korean friendship association's assembly
 

Fri 23/03/2012 14:37

NNA - 23/3/2012 - Lebanese-Korean friendship association held Friday its general assembly under the patronage of Industry Minister Vrej Sabounjian in presence of the Korean Ambassador to Lebanon, Byoung-Gi Kim, and a brass of diplomats and businessmen.

The assembly organized by the head of the Lebanese-Korean friendship association was held at Le Royal Hotel, Dbayeh whereby the Korean Ambassador Kim delivered a word of appreciation to the efforts exerted for boosting ties between Lebanon and Korea.

He accordingly said his country was ready to open its markets for the Lebanese products, calling for organizing mutual visits for businessmen and investors to present them with all available opportunities.

The Ambassador confirmed as well that his country's participation in the UNIFIL force operating in South Lebanon was of major importance as it contributed in the region's stability.

Minister Sabounjian, for his part, made some remarks on this occasion, shedding light on the importance of the Lebanese-Korean relations.

Sabounjian felicitated the Korean people for its many achievements which made Korea rank tenth on the international economy's scale and eighth at the level of exports.

The Minister remarked that the Korean economic policy had reduced social inequalities and removed borders between social categories, allowing both poor and rich to have access to technologies.

As for the Korean contingent operating within the UNIFIL, Sabounjian said it was a constructive contribution in reinforcing security in Lebanon through developing the sustainable development programs and inaugurating new schools in the South.

The Minister separately drew attention to the popularity of the Korean products in the Lebanese market and amongst consumers, as Lebanon imported products of over $260 million on yearly basis, especially at the level of cars industry.

As for Lebanon's exports to Korea, Sabounjian noted that they reached almost 26 million dollars, with products in the frame of metal junk, copper and aluminum.

He finally promoted for the Lebanese products on top of which jewelery, fashion, medications, food products, wine, furniture and others, calling on the Korean market to open its doors for all of them.
D.K.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Economy - Nahhas, Yassine discuss promoting Lebanese products in Arab countries
 

Fri 23/03/2012 11:32

NNA - 23/3/2012 - Economy and Trade Minister Nicolas Nahhas Friday mulled the opening of new doors for Lebanese products in Arab markets during his meeting with head of the Union of Arab exporters and importers, Mohamed Fouad Yassin.

Attendees also engaged in talks concerning other means to reinforce Lebanese ties with Arab countries.
L.W.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Economy - Food safety issue tops discussions at Tourism Ministry
 

Thu 22/03/2012 21:41

NNA - 22/3/2012 Ministers of Tourism Fadi Abboud, Trade and Economy Nicholas Nahhas, Agriculture Hussein Hajj Hassan and Public Health Ali Hassan Khalil, deliberated on Thursday during a meeting held at Tourism Ministry over food safety issue with heads of concerned touristic syndicates.

In the wake of the meeting, Ministers Abboud, Nahhas and Hajj Hassan held a joint press conference, during which Abboud said the meeting tackled practical steps to be launched by all concerned ministries to attain food safety and preserve Lebanon's touristic sector and reputation as one of the finest cuisines.

"We agreed on a comprehensive list to inspect touristic institutions in coordination with concerned ministries... we also agreed on training members to this effect and placing unified measures and criteria," Minister Abboud said.

Nahhas, for his part, disclosed that the meeting managed to place food safety dossier on an acceptable systematic track that can be monitored and supervised.

Minister Hajj Hassan, for his part, indicated that what is currently circulated as a list of restaurants selling expired meat as untrue. He said this issue is merely fabricated and considered as an "assault on economy".
---------------L.Y

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Economy - Khalil: for law implementation in food and water safety
 

Thu 22/03/2012 20:30

NNA - 22/3/2012 Public Health Minister Ali Hassan Khalil emphasized that drinking water filling and selling process-related law shall be implemented. He stressed that the Ministry shall not succumb to any political pressure in this regards, with utmost priority accorded to citizens' right to have clean drinking water.

Minister Khalil was speaking during a press conference he held on Thursday afternoon at his Ministry office, to speak about issues and measures undertaken by the Ministry related to public health as well as water and food safety.

"We [Health Ministry] shall be adamant in implementing laws that preserve people's interests and lives to water, food and medicines," Khalil said.

On the medicines' dossier, the Minister noted that medicines' inspection and monitoring operation occurs on a permanent basis and subject to daily monitoring mechanism.

In response to a question about expired medicines found thrown in some waste dumps in different areas in Lebanon, Khalil stressed that this matter does not mean that these medicines exist in markets or even being sold to citizens, but rather related to destroying out-of-date medicines.

Khalil disclosed the presence of a chronic problem in Lebanon related to the absence of a mechanism to destroy expired medicines in accordance with internationally-renowned scientific standards. Khalil thus called for finding a mechanism in this regards in cooperation with Environment Ministry.

------------------L.Y

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Economy - Bassil: more negotiations regarding power ships lead to delays
 

Thu 22/03/2012 18:59

NNA - 22/03/2012 - Energy and Water Minister Jibran Bassil said any more negotiations concerning the ships generating power would lead to more delays and procrastination in solving the power issue.

Bassil's words came Thursday in the context of a press conference he held at his office.

Bassil welcomed the formation of a committee to manage the oil sector, in the wake of his meeting with delegations of the fuels syndicate and the General Labor Confederation.

Bassil reiterated demand for finding alternatives to the benzene and diesel substances whose prices were increasing.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Economy - Meeting for fuel companies, gas stations owners
 

Thu 22/03/2012 17:31
 

NNA - 22/3/2012 - Fuel importing companies in Lebanon met Thursday under the chairmanship of Maroun Chammas, in presence of the Head of tankers' owners' syndicate, Ibrahim Sarhini and Head of gas stations' owners' syndicate, Sami Braks.

A closing statement issued in the wake of the meeting said that conferees discussed the outcome of their meeting earlier today with the Energy and Water Resources Minister, Gebran Bassil and which they deemed as "unfruitful."

Conferees agreed to keep their meetings open with a view to venturing into further escalation until their requests and claims are met.

The statement also indicated that conferees, which are to convene on Monday, asked for an urgent meeting with Prime Minister Najib Mikati.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved

Economy - Safadi reviews fiscal, financial matters
 

Thu 22/03/2012 17:21

NNA - 22/3/2012 - Minister of Finance, Mohammad Safadi, on Thursday met with delegations of US Latham and Watkins law firm and World for Law office, with talks featuring high on the means to help the Ministry benefit from their experience in the field of fiscal policies.

Talks also touched on the means to develop finance-related legislations in compliance with international laws.

Safadi later met with a delegation of the World Bank over the finalized stages of the project on urgent assistance to reform financial administration at the Ministry of Finance, especially pertaining to public debt, spending, and building financial capacities.
 

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Economy - $: 7,5 Million Chinese gift to Lebanon
 

Thu 22/03/2012 10:21

NNA - 22/3/2012- A gift agreement of 50 Chinese Yen ( approximately $: 7,5 million) presented by the Cabinet of the Republic of China, to the Lebanese Cabinet to collaborate in funding technical and economic cooperation projects.

The agreement was signed by Development and Construction Council head Nabil El-Jisr on behalf of the Lebanese side and China Ambassador to Lebanon Wu Zexian on behalf of the Chinese side.

L.Y.R/N.AF

NNA 2012 All rights reserved




 

Economy - Sabounjian patronizes workshops on clean industry
 

Wed 21/03/2012 16:43

NNA - 21/3/2012 - Industry Ministry concluded on Wednesday a series of workshops organized under the patronage of Industry Minister, Vrej Sabounjian, and in his presence, in cooperation with Hanns Seidel Foundation - Germany, and the association "Man for Environment and Development".

The latest workshops mainly focused on "clean industry" whereby attendees tackled the concept of clean production, evaluated factory's impacts on the environment, and listed the conditions imposed by the Ministry of Industry on local plants.

Conferees also touched on food industry's cleaning and sterilization process, as well as on alternative energy in industrial areas and industrial wastewater management.

Participants concluded this workshop by issuing various recommendations touching on:

- Providing soft loans to support industries which adopt clean production concept.

- Providing fiscal motivations for clean industry.

- Calling on concerned universities and institutions to establish and reactivate research centers specialized in industrial affairs in general and clean production in particular.

- Providing funds to encourage universities and research centers on further studies in the field of clean production.

- Organizing training sessions for factories' employers to boost their technical potentials in clean production.

- Conducting media campaigns and advertisements on all visual and audio-visual media resources to raise awareness amongst civil society.

- Organizing exhibitions and symposiums for local, regional and international products so as to exchange expertise and present latest inventions in the field of clean production.

- Issuing awareness publications and manuals.

- Issuing a book of conditions on different industries.

- Encouraging annual audit on clean production.
D.K.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Economy - GLC ups calls to implement decrees on towering living cost
 

Wed 21/03/2012 15:30

NNA - 21/3/2012 - The General Labor Confederation on Wednesday renewed calls to implement the decrees relevant to the high cost of living and transportation and education allowances.

"These decrees ought to be endorsed at the Parliament in order that public employees and retired persons should benefit from salaries increase," the GLC said in a statement issued in the wake of its periodic meeting in Corniche-el-Nahr today.

"Salaries' protection starts with the control over consumption products' prices (...) food safety has become a concern for the Lebanon considering that expired foods are a dangerous scourge," the statement indicated.
 

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Economy - Launching Wine National College soon
 

Wed 21/03/2012 13:38

NNA - 21/3/2012 - Minister of Industry Vrej Sabounjian announced the launching of Wine National College soon; pointing out that the college would be a tourism landmark.

Sabounjian remarks came during a celebration held in Phoenicia to honor Ixir Wine. He mentioned that the college will study and suggest.
The Minister mentioned that the college would keep up with international developments on this level to be implemented in Lebanon.
 

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Economy - Salhab voices support to combating spoiled food
 

Wed 21/03/2012 11:35


NNA - 21/3/2012 - MP Salim Salhab Wednesday voiced support to the concerned authorities' campaign to combat spoiled food phenomenon.

The MP also expressed concerns over the failure to stop such an event and asserted that such an issue requires integrated treatement between Economy and Agriculture Ministries.

L.W.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved




 

Economy - Cohen meets with Banks' Association
 

Tue 20/03/2012 20:05

NNA - 20/3/2012 Within the framework of his tour among regional countries, U.S. Treasury Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence David Cohen visited on Tuesday Lebanon's Banks' Association, where they discussed Cohen's mission related to combating money laundry and terrorism funding, in addition to commitment to financial sanctions on Syria and Iran, a statement by Association said.

The Association, for its part, stressed Banks' commitment to everything that preserves depositors' safety and shareholders' assets.
-----------------L.Y

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Economy - Abboud inaugurates Horeca's 19th edition in BIEL
 

Tue 20/03/2012 17:24

NNA - 20/3/2012 - Minister of Tourism, Fadi Abboud, on Tuesday inaugurated the 19th edition of Horeca, the regional hospitality, food and beverages services expo, in BIEL.

In a word delivered on the occasion, Abboud said that this event contributed year after year, to relaying a civilized and refined image of Lebanon and hence to promoting properly and correctly for the country.

"This promotion highlights Lebanon's stability and security on one hand, and its specialness in the world of hospitality on the other," he said.

Abboud also said that this event was a real chance to have a closer look at the new technologies which tourism institutions in Lebanon started to adopt.

"Such expos are an effective tool to fuel economy and create job opportunities; Lebanon has the capacity to recuperate its role as a center for conferences and exhibitions but still needs necessary infrastructure and responsible and correct promotion," he said.

However, the Minister did not fail to shed light on the much-heated issue of expired food, whereby he said that many unintended mistakes were made in the past days. "Instead addressing this issue with utmost seriousness, we depicted the whole country as being corrupt."

It is to note that today's event took place in presence of tourism syndicates and associations as well as with the participation of 400 production and services companies from Lebanon, Bahrain, Jordan, KSA, UAE, Syria, Sweden, and Sri Lanka, and 200 food and hotels specialists.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Economy - Jreissati meets businessmen delegation
 

Tue 20/03/2012 16:21

NNA - 20/03/2012 - Labor Minister Salim Jreissati discussed issues related to the work and insurance sectors with a delegation of Lebanese Businessmen Gathering headed by Dr. Fouad Zmakhal.

The delegation, who met with the Minister on Tuesday at his office, presented to him the old age insurance project.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Economy - Abboud : restaurants well controlled , safe
 

Tue 20/03/2012 11:13

NNA - 20/3/2012- Minister of Tourism Fadi Abboud said, " visiting restaurants has become safe at this period because of the intensive control done by concerned authorities on these restaurants and their sources of main material."

Abboud remarks came in an interview to " Voice of Lebanon" radio station. He refused "defining Lebanon as a corrupted spot," pointing out that some tourism institutions rise to the international level. However; Abboud acknowledged the presence of laxity in some other institutions.

Abboud said that the spoiled food file affected tourism status , considering that restaurants were the victim of this corruption.

The Minister wondered whether all meat in Al-Natour family warehouse were spoiled, indicating that the cassation General Prosecutor allowed the two brothers of Al-Natour family to sell the good commodities in their warehouse .
Abboud called upon Justice minister "to take necessary measures upon those who leaked some fake lists which included a number of international companies."

L.Y.R/N.AF

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Economy - Sabonjian receives invitations to visit Iran and Tunisia
 

Mon 19/03/2012 17:52

NNA - 19/3/2012 Industry Minister Freij Sabonjian received on Monday an official invitation to visit Iran from his Iranian counterpart Mehdi Ghazanfari, to activate already existing memorandums of understanding between the Ministry and concerned organizations in Iran.

Iranian Ambassador to Lebanon Ghazanfar Roknabadi handed Minister Sabonjian the invitation in the framework of bolstering cooperation between Lebanon and Iran at the level of industrial exchange.

"I informed Minister Sabonjian of Iran's readiness to assist Lebanon in the implementation of the project to establish an industrial zone, cooperation in the field of drugs' manufacturing, and the purchasing of agricultural products," Roknabadi said, stressing the elimination of impediments in the face of implementing this step as quickly as possible.

On the other hand, Sabonjian received an invitation from his Tunisian counterpart Mohammed Shukkari to partake in the 6th Arab Forum for Small and Medium industries, that shall take place upcoming April 24 in the Tunisian capital.

The invitation was handed to Minister Sabonjian by Tunisian Ambassador to Lebanon Mohammed Fawzi Ballout.

Sabonjian said he shall discuss during the visit the possibility of the signature of a memorandum of cooperation between Lebanon and Tunisia at the level of activating industrial relations.
----------------L.Y

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Economy - Safadi meets Sehnaoui, UAE Ambassador
 

Mon 19/03/2012 16:39

NNA - 19/03/2012 - Finance Minister, Mohammad Safadi, met with Telecommunications Minister, Nicolas Sehnaoui, over joint ministerial affairs.

The meeting was held on Monday at Safadi's ministerial office.

Moreover, the Minister discussed with United Arab Emirates' Ambassador Youssef Ali Al-Oussaimi the general situation as well as cooperation between both countries.
 

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Economy - Nahhas: $ 11 billion to be settled soon
 

Sun 18/03/2012 17:18

NNA - 18/03/2012 - Trade and Economy Minister Nicolas Nahhas vowed to settle the $ 11 billion issue very soon predicating any final solution on "a feasible legal outlet."

Interviewed by As-Sharq (Orient) radio station today, the Minister indicated that all government constituents including Minister Bassil were agreed on the approach to deal with this issue. He added that certain mechanisms not withstanding auditing by the authorities concerned must be tried out.

He disclosed that Mikati and Bassil are no more at loggerheads with regards to energy efficient power generating capacity in the country and that offshore boats were coming to fix Lebanese power plants rather than substitute for them.

The Minister also promised a comprehensive survey of expired food stuffs all over the country in order to avert any unforeseen miss-happening. He disclosed that up to 205 expired tons of foods were under scrutiny with 60 patrols deployed all over the country to hunt for the remaining expired food.

The Minister also promised a series of legal procedures against criminals including those making false phone calls regarding certain hotels and restaurants. He exonerated Natour-owned butchery saying it catered to only 100 shops, hotels and restaurants and that his Ministry would soon bring the matter to a satisfactory closure.
G.G./P.BC.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Economy - Hajj Hassan: new monitoring laws to shock merchants
 

Sun 18/03/2012 11:59


NNA - 18/03/2012 Agriculture Minister Hussein Hajj Hassan warned importers that there will be no political cover or leniency for anyone who trades with expired goods, asserting during a radio interview Sunday that his Ministry is preparing stringent new measures, to protect consumers, which would shock traders.
Police shut and sealed a warehouse in the Beirut southern suburb of Sabra Wednesday, where they confiscated 22 tons of frozen meat imported from Brazil, Australia, and New Zealand. The spoiled food belonged to Suleiman and Samih Mustafa Natour, who now face charges of crimes related to the distribution of spoiled food and for the attempted murders of the consumers to whom they knowingly sold expired food.

"My ministry, with the collaboration of Health and Economy ministries, will demand any meat importer to give a list of who they will be distributing their goods to," explained Hajj Hassan.

Expired goods did not stop at bad meat, but also spoilt dairy products, coffee, and even potato chips. Contending that the situation at the airport and seaport were highly under control, the Minister said the problem was when goods expired inside Lebanese territories and then were sold domestically.

"Once there is a monitoring authority and a justice system that punishes perpetrators, the citizen can rest assured."
R.Z.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Economy - Bassil, Cypriot diplomat brood over maritime borders
 

Fri 16/03/2012 17:40


NNA - 16/03/2012 - Water and Energy Minister Gebran Bassil ruled out on Friday any near gas-related agreements with Cyprus as long as the maritime borders issue is not thrashed out.

Bassil was speaking following a meeting with Cypriot Foreign Minister, Erato Kozakou-Marcoullis, who visited him in the company of the Cypriot Ambassador to Lebanon, Homer Mavromatis. Talks reportedly touched on the means to hammer out standing issues in the way of a Lebanese-Cypriot-Israeli agreement over maritime borders.

"[Cyprus] is a cooperative element in this matter as it carries an earnest desire to contribute to finding a solution to this crisis," Bassil said in praise of Cyprus's efforts with this regard.
R.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Economy - Jreissati vouches for agreement with workers
 

Fri 16/03/2012 17:06

NNA - 16/03/2012 - Labor Minister, Salim Jreissati, said on Friday that he opted for consensus with employees, saying he also encouraged communication between workers and employers as for means to fortify their conditions.

The Minister's words came following a visit by a delegation of economic organizations headed by former Minister, Adnan Kassar

"Workers are well aware that we need to socially quiet things down so as to solve problems posed by unemployment. We also need to tackle issues related to institutions which failed to implement the wage increase decree," he said.

In turn, Kassar affirmed that "economic organizations are always in favor of dialogue and are willing to adopt this process to get things on the right track."

"We never intended to oppose the rights and interests of workers," he affirmed, saying that the nation's status quo didn't allow a better solution.
R.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Economy - Fuel importers gathering counters Bassil: We are neither cartel nor mafia
 

Fri 16/03/2012 16:21

NNA - 16/03/2012 - The Gathering of Fuel Importers Companies held on Friday a press conference countering Energy and Water Minister, Jibran Bassil, who slammed them yesterday as "mafia group and cartel."

The gathering said, "We are neither mafia nor cartel." It explained that the cartel is a group of separate companies that agree to increase profits by fixing prices and not competing with each other - something far from the gathering's companies whose containers have always been under the surveillance of Customs Department.

The gathering also explained that it was not mafia as its companies always showed financial statements to government and never practiced authority over anybody.

"We work under the ceiling of law and Constitution that give us the right to demonstrate and express our opinion in a peaceful way," said the gathering.
 

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Economy - Hajj Hassan chairs apple crop committee meeting
 

Fri 16/03/2012 13:11

NNA - 16/3/2012 - The apple crop committee Friday gathered under the chairmanship of Agriculture Minister Hussein Hajj Hassan.

Apple farmers, exporters, and all concerned parties, tackled during their meeting means to develop apple agriculture in Lebanon and improve the standard of exports.

Conferees also highlighted the importance of preserving the traditional markets importing Lebanese apples and enter other new Arab markets such as Iraq, Libya, Sudan, and other European markets.
L.W.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved




 

Economy - Vreij Sabounjian: Industry insurance condition for licensing
 

Fri 16/03/2012 13:10

NNA - Minister of Industry Vreij Sabounjian stressed that any company seeking to open a factory in Lebanon must have an insurance coverage in order to get a permit from the ministry.

The minister made these remarks during a joint news conference with the president of the Insurance Association Assaad Mizra.

"I have called for this news conference to announce that any factory must have an insurance policy in order to receive a permit from our ministry as of June of this year. The new conditions for the permit have been issued in the national gazette. This insurance policy is mandatory to protect the factory from fire and other accidents," Sabounjian explained.

He added that the other reason behind this insurance is to protect the workers in the plant.

The minister insisted that this action adopted by the government should not be considered as an attempt to put financial pressure on the owners of factories in Lebanon.

"We are doing this for the interest of both the factory owners and employees."

Sabounjian added that the ministry adopted this measure following a series of fires that destroyed factories in the past few months.

The minister called on all factory owners to cooperate with the ministry and insure their plants for their own wellbeing.

"Our ministry encourages the owner of every factory in the country to step forward so we can study his file carefully and help him meet all the conditions," Sabounjian said.

The minister revealed that the government is pressing the municipalities to ensure that all factories in their areas comply with the new decision.
O.H

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Economy - Aridi tackles municipal affairs with interlocutors
 

Thu 15/03/2012 13:52

NNA - 15/03/2012 - Public Works and Transportation Minister, Ghazi Aridi, tackled a number of developmental affairs with a delegation of Hamana proprietors who engaged with the Minister in issues concerning the categorization of Hamana.

In turn, the Minister expressed earnest concern to thrash out the matter in a way which suits all Hamana landlords best.

The Minister later had an audience with Upper Maten Municipalities Union, in the company of Former MPs Salah Hanin and Ayman Choker.

Talks reportedly focused on a number of Baabda, Yarzeh, and Upper Maten affairs, as well as other development-related issues in localities lacking municipalities.

Aridi requested herein a list of demands to start construction works in said specific regions.
R.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Economy - No diesel, gasoline sold throughout most of Lebanon
 

Thu 15/03/2012 11:01

NNA - 15/3/2012 The Lebanese petroleum sector Thursday went on strike demanding the government to hike the surcharge for the transfer of gasoline and oil-related material so as to compensate for the increase in fuel prices over the past few weeks.

National News Agency correspondent reported that, early this morning, petroleum tank owners and drivers rallied on the Qarantina highway to Hazmieh through severe security measures concerned forces have adopted.

Leaders of the Lebanese petroleum sector Thursday vowed a strike and demonstrations, reiterating their demands for the government to double their loyalties.
Shutting down their warehouses, oil importing companies halted their fuel deliveries in solidarity with petroleum sector industries.

Gas stations in Jal-El-Dib, Nahr-El-Mot, Dora, and Beirut River were fully shut down today.

Ibrahim Sariini, head of the Petroleum Tank Owners' Syndicate, Thursday said tanks are fully committed to the strike whereas gas stations committed to an 85%, "which is a remarkably high rate for the fuel sector."

"The sit-in before the Energy Ministry is peaceful and aims at expressing the rejection of losses Tank owners bear," he said.
L.W.
 

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Economy - Gas station in Tyre abides by strike
 

Thu 15/03/2012 09:27

NNA - 15/3/2012 Gas stations in Tyre City Thursday abide by the Lebanese petroleum sector's strike, National News Agency correspondent reported.

Lebanon's petroleum sector leaders vowed a strike and demonstrations, reiterating their demand for the government to double their loyalties.

The head of the oil-importing companies' association Maroun Chammas said distribution firms have decided to halt fuel deliveries during the strike.

Some of the Lebanese gas stations have grasped the opportunity to sell Benzene with prices different from those determined by the Ministry.

L.W.

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Economy - New hotline by Beirut Chamber on establishments involved in expired food
 

Wed 14/03/2012 16:18

NNA - 14/3/2012 - Head of Beirut and Mount Lebanon Commerce and Industry Chamber, Mohammad Shoucair, on Wednesday announced a new hotline at the disposal of citizens wishing to be updated on the names of establishments involved in the expired food and rotten meat scandal.

Citizens can benefit from this hotline as of today on 01/347905.
 

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Economy - Hajj Hassan, Eichhorst discuss market access for agro-food products
 

Wed 14/03/2012 14:32

NNA - 14/3/2012 Minister of Agriculture, Hussein Hajj Hassan Wednesday discussed the issue of market access for agro-food products during his meeting with Head of the EU Ambassador to Lebanon Angelina Eichhorst.

Talks also enclosed ongoing trade issues related to agro-food products between Lebanon and the European Union particularly on the concerns raised by European exporters regarding access to the Lebanese market.

Hajj Hassan asked urged EU to follow up on facilitating the access of Lebanese potato exports to the EU.

Attendees also shared views with a group of Lebanese traders seeking the enhancement of their access to the EU market.
L.W.

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Economy - Hospitals syndicate to stage sit-in on March 26
 

Tue 13/03/2012 17:25

NNA - 13/3/2012 - The Syndicate of Hospitals in Lebanon on Tuesday called health workers in hospitals to suspend work on forthcoming March 26, and to gather in front of the Grand Serail, in an effort to wield pressure on the government with a view to just and even hospitalization for citizens.

The Syndicate met today under the chairmanship of Sleiman Haroun, and skimmed through most recent developments pertaining to the amendment of hospitals fees before the insurance funds and committees.

A closing statement issued in the wake of the meeting explained that hospitals were short of capacities to give employees their rights and pay due sums to suppliers.

The Syndicate hence agreed to demand the Cabinet put the hospitals' item on its agenda.

It also decided that hospitals stop admitting the cases approved by the Social Security Fund as of March 26 and for a one-week period, except for the cases of kidney dialysis and chemical therapy, unless a solution was reached before the aforesaid time.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Economy - Safadi meets Nahhas, Mansour
 

Tue 13/03/2012 15:47

NNA - 13/3/2012 - Minister of Finance, Mohammad Safadi, on Tuesday met with Minister of Trade and Economy, Nicolas Nahhas, over an array of affairs relevant to the Economy Ministry.

Safadi later received, at his ministerial office, Foreign Minister Adnan Mansour, with talks featuring high on foreign and expatriates' affairs.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Economy - (UPDATE) Expired food depot busted in Burj Molouk
 

Tue 13/03/2012 15:40

NNA - 13/03/2012 - Another depot of expired meat and poultry has been busted on Tuesday in Burj Molouk - Marjeyoun, by the Economy Ministry's Consumer Protection department and the Internal Security Forces, National News Agency correspondent said.

30 boxes of rotten meat and poultry had been confiscated; whereas the owner of the shop, which had been sealed with red wax, has been arrested for investigations.

In Tripoli, a control unit from the Economy and Trade Department in the North today raided food depots containing rotten meat and expired frozen vegetables and seafood.

The General Prosecution of Appeal immediately took the necessary legal measures and duly made a contravention ticket.
R.H.-R.A.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Economy - Expired food depot busted in Burj Molouk
 

Tue 13/03/2012 13:11

NNA - 13/03/2012 - Another depot of expired meat and poultry has been busted on Tuesday in Burj Molouk - Marjeyoun, by the Economy Ministry's Consumer Protection department and the Internal Security Forces, National News Agency correspondent said.

30 boxes of rotten meat and poultry had been confiscated; whereas the owner of the shop, which had been sealed with red wax, has been arrested for investigations.
R.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Economy - Jreissati pledges to tackle land transportation issue with integrity
 

Mon 12/03/2012 15:42

NNA - 12/3/2012 - Labor Minister Salim Jreissati followed up Monday the problems of the land transportation sector which he had deemed as vital.

The Minister received a delegation of the land transportation syndicates and unions which briefed him on various pending affairs on top of which those pertaining to the Social Security Fund.

The Minister promised to address all raised issues as per the laws in force, especially that all of them were just and righteous.

"We agreed on reactivating the role of the complaints bureau within the Labor Ministry so as to follow up the illicit competition over land transportation issue," he added.

Separately, the Labor Minister received the Egyptian Ambassador to Lebanon, Muhammad Toufic, with whom he discussed bilateral relations, as well as the conditions of the Egyptian workers in Lebanon.

A delegation of the World Bank had also tackled with Jreissati affairs of common interest.

Later on, the Labor Minister met with a delegation of Lebanese pilots, headed by head of syndicate Fadi Khalil with talks featuring high on various topics.

D.K.
 

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Economy - Aridi: State's properties for state only
 

Mon 12/03/2012 14:30

NNA - 12/03/2012 - Public Works and Transportation Minister Ghazi Aridi said on Monday that the state's properties were not abandoned and were only for the state itself. "Rights must return to their owners at any price."

In another development, Aridi received at his office several visitors with whom he tackled a wide spectrum of developmental affairs across the country.

Amongst the visitors have been a delegation of Keserwan Development Council that discussed with the host the condition of Jounieh seaport; former Deputy Nazih Mansour who reviewed with the host developmental items relevant to the South region; and others.
A.M./P.BC.

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Economy - Sleiman: Lebanon disassociated itself from unfolding envelopments
 

Mon 12/03/2012 11:53

NNA - 12/3/2012 - The President of the Republic Michel Sleiman said that Lebanon has distanced itself from the negative unfolding developments around it and this policy has spared the country serious repercussions.

Sleiman made these remarks at Adnan Kassar economic building to mark the 60th anniversary for the establishment of the Union of Arab Chambers of Commerce that was attended by Speaker of the House Nabih Berri, Prime Minister Najib Mikati and a number of ministers, MPs and senior Lebanese and Arab officials.

"Lebanon has managed to overcome with great difficulties numerous problems, the latest of which was financial crisis. The country was also able to distance itself from the tensions engulfing many countries in the region," the president said.

He hoped that the current crisis will be solved amicably and peacefully among all concerned parties in order to fulfill the legitimate aspirations of the peoples.

"Economic growth requires freedom, democracy and stability. We have avoided the economic and political implications thanks to our liberal system and stability."

He added that Lebanon's democratic system was a protective shield for the country.

The president added that one of the reasons which allowed the Arab Chambers of Commerce to remain steadfast and resilient was its openness, freedom and respect of human rights.

Sleiman also touched on the state of the Lebanese economy as well as the challenges facing the Arab countries.

"We will preserve the Lebanese economic traditions and continuity of the tax system. We also seek to develop the legal environment to establish social justice."

Sleiman called on the Arab countries to press ahead with economic reforms, develop the Arab Capital markets and approach the private sector to finance major projects.

The president also encouraged the Arab countries to give women their full rights and pay more attention to the food and water security because they are the future.

O.H

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Economy - Sabounjian inspects North Metn industry
 

Fri 9/03/2012 16:59

NNA - 09/03/2012 - Industry Minister, Vrej Sabounjian, on Friday toured in the North Metn region, inspecting the industries' situation therein.

In his tour, Sabounjian was accompanied by the Director General of the Industry Ministry, Dany Gedoun, the Qaemakam of Metn region, Elham Haddad, and other industrial figures.

Sabounjian assured that the "Made in Lebanon" slogan had become a quality, taste, and art distinction mark, making clear that the "Lebanon the Producer" slogan he had lately risen would help develop the Lebanese exportation soon.

The minister urged that industrialists must work on preserving the condition of their institutions and interests and press efforts to enhance growth, amidst the current political and economic stages.

Furthermore, Sabounjian assured that a line of coordination was set between his ministry and the Foreign and Expatriates, for the purpose of activating the role of Lebanon's diplomatic emissaries abroad "so that they [emissaries] would provide beneficial data for industry."

Such data, the minister added, would serve an industrial and trade exchange between Lebanon and foreign countries.
A.M>

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Economy - Lebanon enters international tourism competition
 

Fri 9/03/2012 15:21

NNA - 09/03/2012 - Tourism Minister Fady Abboud participated in the international tourism exhibition of Berlin (ITB) that started two days ago, with Lebanon entering a competition for the best country's wing in ITB.

180 countries and public and private institutions, like hotels and tourism offices, partook in the expo. The Lebanese wing was so beautiful that it attracted many visitors and shared the forthcoming competition.

Tourism Minister Fady Abboud, accompanied by a delegation of the Tourism Ministry, joined the event and received at the Lebanese wing a series of tourism seniors in the world.

Abboud discussed the condition of tourism ties between Lebanon and Jordan with Jordan's Tourism Minister Nayef Al-Fayez. He also explored activating medical tourism with Zambia's Minister.

Separately, Abboud participated in opening the Annual Conference for the German Arab Chamber in Berlin.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Economy - Bassil signs diesel tax exemption decree
 

Thu 8/03/2012 12:22

NNA - 08/03/2012 - Water and Energy Minister Gebran Bassil signed on Thursday a decree which exempts diesel purchasers from paying the Value Added Tax (VAT), as per law item 207 which had been issued on March 5/03/2012.

The subsidy plan, in support of diesel consumers, decreases the total of LL 2,900 on red diesel and LL 2,800 on green diesel. This means that the red diesel 20-liter tank now costs LL 28,700 and LL 28,800 for a green diesel tank.

R.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved




 

Economy - Bassil ups calls for gas pipeline draft law
 

Wed 7/03/2012 20:49

NNA - 07/03/2012 - Water and Energy Minister, Gebran Bassil, on Wednesday stepped up calls for a resolute commitment to the Council of Minister's decision to draft a project law devoted for the establishment and financing of a coastal gas pipeline.

The Council of Minister set February 29, 2012 a deadline for handing the aforementioned draft law, but serious discussions over the matter remain pending.

"Studies on the coastal pipeline had been concluded back in 2010, and many companies expressed a keen desire to undertake it at the international level," said Bassil, but the lack of sufficient funds to cover the project is what prohibited the launch of the project, he explained.

"This pipeline extends all the way from North to South Lebanon, and from Baddawi to Tyre, therefore it passes through all the electricity companies spread across the nation," Bassil said, adding that in this case, the pipelines would provide electricity stations with gas and eventually alleviate the cost of power production.

The project should be seriously taken into consideration regardless of its cost, according to Bassil who also affirmed that it would eventually save the nation huge sums of money.

"This is one of the projects that claim back their costs real quick," he added, affirming that no matter how much efforts the Lebanese exerted to lessen the electricity production cost, they would wind up resorting to the use of gas.

"It is available in abundant amounts, has multi-benefits, and low pollution levels," he said.

The Minister also suggested linking Lebanon's gas pipeline to the Arab line, which would eventually be linked to the European network. He also highlighted the importance of importing Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) in light of comprehensive study which had been conducted to show that Lebanon was capable of importing LNG by sea.

"This allows us to install a natural gas line on land and a LNG pipeline by sea," Bassil explained.

Responding to a question on whether Lebanon's electricity companies could function on gas, the Minister said that most of the stations were originally built to function on fuel and gas.

"We cannot keep depending on one power source in a way where everything will end up functioning on gas. In our electricity plan we made sure that only two thirds (of electricity production) should depend on gas."

As for the heatedly debated argument over leasing power generating ships, Bassil said that any intention to recoil from this plan should be made public.

"Those who want to back away from this project should make it public and hold responsibility before the people in winter and summer," Bassil said, affirming however that no official stances have been made public on the matter as yet.

"We shouldn't rely on media seepage of information. We will take an appropriate position when the right time comes," he promised.

In his response to another question, Bassil reprimanded all sorts of attacks targeting the person of Maronite Patriarch Mar Bechara Boutros Rahi.
R.H.

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Economy - Agreement renewal between Health Ministry, WHO
 

Tue 6/03/2012 16:42

NNA - 06/03/2012 - An agreement for renewing health cooperation was set Tuesday at the Health Ministry's headquarters between said ministry and the World Health Organization (WHO).

The agreement embodied boosting health security; controlling infectious diseases; enhancing food safety; protection from accidents; ameliorating the condition of healthcare, medicines and laboratories; and other matters.

The agreement was signed by Public Health Minister Ali Hassan Khalil and by the regional director of WHO Alaa Alwan.
A.M./P.BC.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Economy - Jreissati follows up doctors' syndicate's demands
 

Tue 6/03/2012 15:29

NNA - 6/3/2012 - Labor Minister Salim Jreissati discussed Monday, with a delegation of doctors' syndicate headed by Dr. Sharaf Abou Sharaf, Social Security Fund's pending problems, especially those pertaining to the fines imposed on said syndicate.

Talks focused on doctors' syndicate's requirements as well as on the affair of providing insurance for doctors after their retirement.

Also, Minister Jreissati met with Archbishop of Ferzol, Zahle and Bekaa, Issam Hanna Darwish, who uttered faith in the new Labor Minister's ability to push forward the cabinet's wheel.

On a different note, Jreissati held an administrative meeting with all Heads of departments within the Labor Ministry, listening carefully to their concerns, needs and suggestions.

The Minister expressed keenness on revising all dossiers aimed at reactivating the Ministry's work, assuring that people's complaints would certainly be taken into consideration.

The Minister indicated that inspection was underway to make sure all institutions, companies and employers abided by the wage increase law.
D.K.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Economy - Seklawi meets Poland ambassador
 

Tue 6/03/2012 11:58

NNA - 6/3/2012- REGIE General Director Nassif Seklawi met at his office in Hadath building, Poland ambassador to Lebanon Tomasz Niegodzisz and discussed with him the development of trade relations between the two countries.

Head of Tobacco farmers syndicate in the south Hassan Fakih, Poland air-lines director, trade general secretary George Hobeika and Tobacco Technology director Abdel Mawla Al-Mawla attended the meeting.

Statement issued by REGIE public relations directorate mentioned that "the attendees agreed during the meeting on developing and strengthening commerce relations."

L.Y.R/N.AF

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Economy - Bassil promotes waste-to-energy production
 

Mon 5/03/2012 20:35

NNA - 5/03/2012 - Amid an era of burgeoning power-producing technologies worldwide, Water and Energy Minister Gebran Bassil suggested on Monday the investment of Municipal financial revenues in the production of bio-energy.

Minister Bassil sponsored on Monday the launch of SIDRO project "a study on the possibility of producing bio-energy in Lebanon", paving the way for a road map towards the production of energy from biomasses.

Bio-energy, also known as bio-fuels, comes from any fuel that is derived from biomass - recently living organisms or their metabolic byproducts. Unlike other natural resources such as petroleum, coal and nuclear fuels, bio-energy is a renewable energy source.

"What we're launching today is an initial sweep to unravel Lebanon's hidden potential for bio-energy," Bassil said in presence of the United Nations Development Program Representative in Lebanon Mr. Robert Watkins, the Spanish Ambassador to Lebanon, Juan Carlos Gafo, the Swiss and Korean Ambassadors, and a crowd of experts.

"We have abundant natural resources in our country, and available updated technologies for its use," Bassil said, highlighting the need to make use of it.

But Bassil said that a political decision was still needed to activate such work.

The Minister suggested herein the use of Municipal financial revenues to support this project.

"Some fear that municipalities do not enjoy the capacity to properly spend all the revenues they collect (...) for instance, municipalities could cover with their budget governmentally incurred deficit," Bassil said. He cited the example of the billions spent on sewage networks in different Lebanese localities, at the time that many of those networks ware out of function.

"Municipalities could invest their revenues in sewage-related projects, to harmoniously function with the major distributing distillation stations along the Lebanese coast and Bekaa region."

The Water and Energy Minister went on to suggest that a portion of these municipal revenues be allocated for waste-to-energy projects.

"Garbage is a problem for every municipality in Lebanon, thus I suggest that a part of the billion dollars be invested in thermal decomposition projects or any other waste treatment project, a thing which produces gas, then electricity," Bassil said in the hope that Lebanon would finally manage to produce bio-energy.

Furthermore, Bassil reminded that any renewable-energy suggestion entailed a new legislation by the House of Parliament.

"One of the main flaws of law #462 is that it makes no mention of renewable energy," he said, noting that by the end of 2010, a project-law had been drafted allowing companies the production of energy. "But we have recently introduced the renewable energy item to this law."

Bassil finally called on the House of Parliament and the Council of Ministers to adopt one of the laws mentioned above.

"This is a vital and essential study on which we can build the future," Bassil added, hoping that Lebanon's intellectual productivity would be translated in actual bio-energy, by making use of all the available sources of energy in the country.
R.H.

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Economy - Hajj Hassan: Lebanon will export to East Europe, Iran

 

Mon 5/03/2012 15:25

NNA - 05/03/2012 - Agriculture Minister Hussein Hajj Hassan said that Lebanon, after the Syrian crisis's bad effect upon Lebanon's agriculture, was searching for new markets in East Europe and Russia to export its agricultural products. He assured that Lebanon will export 5000 tons of citrus fruits to Iran.

Hajj Hassan's stance came on Monday in the context of a press conference which he described to be as supporting IDAL institution, especially IDAL's distinguished role in developing Lebanese exportation and investment.

Hajj Hassan thanked Prime Minister Najib Mikati and President Michel Sleiman for the agricultural decisions they adopted, concerning allocating a 50 billion Lebanese Pound sum for promoting agricultural exports and a 12 billion amount for the fishing sector.
A.M>

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Economy - Owners of buildings: For a fair lease law
 

Mon 5/03/2012 14:11

NNA - 5/3/2012 Owners of leased buildings' gathering, chaired by Joseph Zougheib, Monday urged the government and Lebanese officials to issue a new law on fair rental, which restores former owners their rights, based on the Constitution's preamble.

In a statement issued today, the gathering warned of the reoccurrence of the Fassouh building catastrophe, if owners still are incapable of restoring their buildings due to the poor amounts they receive in exchange of their properties' rental.

"Government is responsible for such potential disasters, since many old buildings are threatened with collapse at any moment," the statement concluded.

L.W.

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Economy - Aridi meets Private Aircraft Owners' delegation
 

Mon 5/03/2012 13:42

NNA - 5/3/2012 Public Works and Transportation Minister Ghazi Aridi Monday discussed holding a private aircrafts' exhibition during his meeting with a delegation of the Private Aircraft Owners in the Middle-East.

The exhibition shall be held under the patronage and organization of the MEBAA (Middle East Business Aviation Association).

L.W.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Economy - Nabatiyyeh Sit-in to Protest Power Cuts
 

Sat 3/03/2012 14:13

NNA - 03/03/2012 The people of Nabatiyyeh staged a sit-in to protest power cuts at such hard times of freezing weather conditions. Spearheaded by the people of al-Bayyad quarter, they indicated that they've been living without electricity for the last ten days and that nothing is being done to restore their local generator which went dead.

Nabatiyyeh protesters pleaded with Amal and Hizbullah deputies to help them in their ordeal by either restoring power-supply from the electricity company or else fix their generator.

G.G.

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Economy - Coming week tests government's serious work - Bassil
 

Fri 2/03/2012 19:41

NNA - 02/03/2012 - Minister of Energy and Water Jibran Bassil said the majority's presence, if real, should be shown during Monday's legislative session, which would test government's serious work.

Bassil's stance came Friday in the wake of his receiving respectively at his office former Minister Adnan Qassar, US Ambassador Maura Connelly, UN Special Coordinator for Lebanon Derik Plumbly and Cyprus Maronite Bishop Youssof Sweif.

A.M>


 

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Economy - Safadi wards off accusations of inaction
 

Fri 2/03/2012 18:42

NNA - 2/03/2012 - Finance Minister Mohammad Safadi fended off allegations accusing the Mikati-led cabinet of inertia in finding a legal way out of the post-2006 extra-budgetary spending issue, saying the 2012 budget has been finalized within the set constitutional deadline.

"The cabinet had finalized the 2012 budget before the set deadline, but the wage increase imposed a delay for recalculation purposes," Safadi made clear.

In a statement issued on Friday, Safadi couldn't help but wonder how the House of Parliament could suggest a set time schedule for the cabinet to carry out budgetary studies.

"The Ministry of Finance (...) enjoys the authority to set a deadline for the accomplishment of accounts accumulating since 1993," the statement read, making clear that accounts are limited to expenditures below the spending ceiling, and don't take into account extra-budgetary spending.

"Previous cabinets never abided by constitutional deadlines to start with," Safadi's statement added.
R.H.

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Economy - Sabounjian heads Lebanese-Saudi economic forum
 

Fri 2/03/2012 16:35

NNA - 2/3/2012 - Industry Minister Vrej Sabonjian on Friday chaired the first session of the Lebanese-Saudi economic forum entitled "Lebanon and Saudi Arabia's future economy", whereby he announced that Lebanese products have entered new international markets which impose strict standards on products' quality.

"Demand on products 'made in Lebanon' has been increasing lately," he proudly said, assuring that Arab markets should now be more open to all Lebanese manufactured goods.

Sabounjian said that the Lebanese-Saudi economic forum, held in its 7th round under the patronage of Prime Minister Najib Mikati, reflects the Lebanese government's keenness on preserving best ties between the two countries, felicitating in this regard the economy and business group and the chambers of industry in Lebanon and KSA for the fine organization.

"Lebanon has always believed that the kingdom of Saudi Arabia was the older brother which cares for it in adversities and crises," he said, assuring that support had always been moral, political and economic.

The Minister did not fail to corroborate the Lebanese government's success in accentuating political and security stability which are the main motivators for investment.

"We cheer for providing the adequate atmosphere for business and industrial investment. We are now in the process of amending the law on investments' encouragement so as to expand the development to include all Lebanese regions," Minister Sabounjian revealed.

"There would be no economy without a strong, specialized and integrated industry which embraces our national and competent human resources in Lebanon," he assured, mentioning therefore that providing suitable atmosphere started with the construction of advanced infrastructure.

Also, Sabounjian revealed that the Industry Ministry had issued the statistics of the industrial exports for the year 2011, noting that "we have scored a record at this level."

He praised, in this regard, the efforts exerted by industrialists for boosting their competitiveness, particularly amid the current challenges.

The Industry Minister finally hoped that KSA would once again top the list of countries to which Lebanon exports products most.

"We also wish to increase our imports from Saudi Arabia, not only for providing balance at the industrial level, but also as a result of the fraternal ties which bond the two people together," he added.

D.K.

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Economy - Jreissati, Ghon discuss cooperation
 

Fri 2/03/2012 13:16

NNA - 2/3/2012 - Labor Minister Salim Jreissati Friday engaged in talks about the prevailing partnership between the Ministry and the General Labor Confederation during his meeting with a delegation chaired by Ghassan Ghosn.

The latter said after the meeting that the visit proves the normal relation between the GLC and the Ministry which "we consider as the leader of dialogue between production parties."

On the other hand, Minister Jreissati said the Ministry is following up on the issue of institutions' refraining from paying wages increase.

L.W.
 

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Economy - (correction)Aridi discusses aviation protocol
 

Fri 2/03/2012 13:08

NNA - 2/3/2012 - Public Works and Transportation Minister Ghazi Aridi Friday discussed signing a new aviation protocol during his meeting with a delegation of the French Civil Aviation.

The protocol aims at boosting cooperation between the countries.


L.W.

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Economy - Aridi tackles discusses aviation protocol
 

Fri 2/03/2012 12:52

NNA - 2/3/2012 - Public Works and Transportation Minister Ghazi Aridi Friday discussed signing a new aviation protocol during his meeting with a delegation of the French Civil Aviation.

The protocol aims at boosting cooperation between the countries.


L.W.

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Economy - Salameh inaugurates conference on leadership in financial sector, sheds light on Lebanese banking sector's conditions
 

Thu 1/03/2012 16:45

NNA - 1/3/2012 - "Bank and investor" group launched on Thursday its conference entitled "Leadership in the financial sector: futuristic vision" at Movenpick hotel, under the patronage of Lebanese Central Bank Governor, Riad Salameh, in presence of Secretary General of the Syrian-Lebanese higher council, Nasri Khoury, the Turkish Ambassador to Lebanon Inan Ozyildise, and ranking dignitaries.

Salameh praised the endeavors of the "Bank and Investor" group which organized this conference to shed light on the financial sector in general and the "leadership" issue in particular as it has a vital impact on the country's economy.

Salameh focused on listing experiences of pioneers in the banking sector and how they could actually affect the opinions and expertise exchange.

"International references agree on the importance of coordination in making decisions between economic zones over the world, so as to find way outs of the repetitive crises flaring up since 2008," Salameh explained, adding that the unusual activity of international primary central banks since 2008 and the quantitative easing to bailout the banking sector did not solve the crisis.

"Those who are running the world nowadays are those manipulating the financial markets and the rating agencies as they represent a factor of pressure over the governments by affecting the economy's finance and the job opportunities," he argued.

The BDL governor assured however that Lebanon had noted the rules of the game and immunized Lebanon's banking sector in face of radical changes which might tamper with credits, social development, and job opportunities.

"This approach had allowed Lebanon to avoid the world economic crisis, as it increased trust, reduced interests and reactivated credits," he added in this regard, confirming that regional threats are being followed up by specialized banks and control committees.
D.K.

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Economy - Mikati says political, security stability backbone of success
 

Thu 1/03/2012 12:27

NNA - 01/03/2012 - Prime Minister Najib Mikati on Thursday capitalized on domestic political and security stability, saying that both create firm basis for the success of developmental plans and goals.

"The banking sector is the backbone of Lebanon's economy," Mikati said at the opening session of a Saudi-Lebanese forum which had been commenced at Phoenicia Hotel this morning.

"We hope the Arab Spring will have positive repercussions on the economy of the Arab world in general, and Lebanon in particular."

Mikati also had words of praise for Lebanese-Saudi relations.

"The depth of our relation has become exemplary," he affirmed, thanking the Saudi Kingdom for having opened its doors wide open before the Lebanese at all times of adversity.

"Our relations are growing deeper amid turmoil sweeping the Arab world," Mikati added, expressing Lebanon's utmost need for KSA's support.

Moreover, Mikati affirmed Lebanon's great belief in Arab solidarity as means to achieve growth. "Our government has already announced and intends to announce future reform steps which entail the all support possible," he said.
R.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Economy - Khalil promises burgeoning services at Rafik Hariri Hospital
 

Wed 29/02/2012 21:29

NNA - 29/02/2012 - Minister of Health, Ali Hassan Khalil, held a press conference on Wednesday shedding light on the deteriorating condition of the Rafik Hariri Government Hospital and measures adopted by the Ministry of Health to support the hospital at the financial and administrative levels.

The Health Minister anticipated promising progress at the level of services provided by the hospital, saying it was a national need for all the Lebanese citizens alike.

"This issue must be addressed clearly and transparently," he said amid concerted efforts to make this state-run hospital function at its best.

"A technical committee has been formed for developing a plan to improve the hospital's conditions and find solutions to its problems. Records examined thus far include the hospital's administrative, human resources, and legal records," he said, adding that a report was forwarded to President Michel Sleiman and Prime Minister Najib Mikati to be listed on the cabinet's agenda for discussions with the authorized committee.

Touching on plans to improve the hospital's administrative structure, Khalil stressed that the Hospital needed fundamental renovation of its building and a program consistent with the role of governmental hospitals.

"We proposed of the administration of research and guidance to conduct a review on the hospital's entire administrative structure reaching a new one," he said.

At the financial level, the Minister promised the allocation of a direct financial contribution by the Ministry of Health to Rafik Hariri Hospital in a bid to improve its performance.
R.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Economy - Bassil: General Prosecution report did justice to Ministry
 

Wed 29/02/2012 19:32

NNA - 29/2/2012 Water and Energy Minister Jibran Bassil said that General Prosecution report at the Court of Audit has done justice to the Ministry, rebutting fabrications leveled by some deputies in the so-called "diesel scandal" dossier.

Minister Bassil's words came during a press conference he held at the Ministry, in which he dwelt on the report by the Court of Audit on the diesel issue.

"The stream of lies leveled by some has been refuted by the report," Bassil said, hoping that the investigation will be completed to unveil all what is unseen.

However, the Minister said that this matter is insufficient, disclosing that the Ministry shall proceed with a further comprehensive investigation into the area which does not fall within the Court of Audit's specialization.
--------------------L.Y

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Economy - Saudi Trade Minister arrives in Beirut
 

Wed 29/02/2012 16:57

NNA - 29/2/2012 - Saudi Minister of Trade and Industry, Tawfiq Ben Fozan Ar-Rabiha, on Wednesday arrived in Beirut, to represent the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in the 7th round of the Saudi-Lebanese Forum, to take place tomorrow under the patronage of Prime Minister Najib Mikati.

The visiting official was received at Rafik Hariri International Airport by Minister of Industry, Vrej Sabounjian, the Saudi ambassador to Lebanon, Ali Asseiri, and CEO of the Lebanese Business and Economy Group, Raouf Abu Zaki.

 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Economy - Aridi, Khalil tackle political developments
 

Tue 28/02/2012 15:14

NNA - 28/2/2012 Public Works and Transportation Minister Ghazi Aridi Tuesday discussed most recent political regional and domestic up-to-dates during his meeting with Health Minister Ali Hassan Khalil.

Aridi also met with Change and Reform bloc members MPs Simon Abi Ramiya and Walid Khoury as well as Toni Abi Akel, the Responsible for Developmental affairs in Jbeil.

Talks also touched on developments and political issues.

MP Marwan Fares, Urbanism General Director Elias Tawil, as well as delegations of Masha- Akkar and Hayyata-Keserwan towns visited Aridi today.


L.W.

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Economy - Safadi meets Beirut, Tripoli Bar Associations Heads
 

Tue 28/02/2012 14:43

NNA - 28/2/2012 - Minister of Finance, Mohammad Safadi, on Tuesday met with Heads of Beirut and Tripoli Bar Associations, respectively Nohad Jabr and Bassam Al-Daya.

"Talks touched on financial affairs which concern lawyers on all levels," Jabr told reporters following the meeting.

Al-Daya, for his part, lauded Minister Safadi's keenness on the public finances and enforced laws' implementation.

R.A.H.

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Economy - Bassil: for an efficient government work
 

Mon 27/02/2012 19:30

NNA - 27/2/2012 Water and Energy Minister Jibran Bassil underlined the importance of a renewed, efficient government work; otherwise, proposed plans and projects are deemed to remain frail.

Minister Bassil was speaking during the signature ceremony of a Book entitled "National Plan for Energy Efficiency", at the invitation of Lebanese Center for Energy Preservation, at the "Metropolitan Palace" Hotel in Beirut.

Bassil hoped that the launching of the said energy plan will coincide with the initiation of a proficient government work. "In the case this has not been achieved, then all our plans shall remain unimplemented," Bassil said, stressing the importance of putting plan content into implementation.
---------------L.Y

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Economy - Abboud; Arab Spring Tensions Jeopardized Development
 

Sat 25/02/2012 13:39

NNA - 25/02/2012 - Minister of Tourism Fadi Abboud, stated that the Arab Spring jeopardized in many ways Arab and national economic growth and development. Speaking at the "Spring of the Arabs Conference" in its second day at La Sagesse University today, the minister said rife regional tensions brought most economic development projects to a standstill. About fallout from the Syrian crisis on this country, he noted the escape of capital with most Arab and international entrepreneurs eventually leaving.

A number of Arab guests like ESCWA official Abdullah Dardari spoke about appalling economic conditions prior to the Arab Spring; He brought to attention the 40% figure of Arabs actually leaving under the poverty line thus triggering off revolts everywhere.

Arab League economist Bahjat Abun-Naser, predicted that a dysfunctional Arab economy would collapse by the end of 2016 given rife poverty and corruption in most Arab countries.

Former Lebanese Economy minister Jihad Az'our, said the whole Arab economic fabric ought to be reconsidered in order to effect thorough restructuring in the light of the Arab Spring.

G.G./R.K.

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Economy - Fraudery in selling red diesel says Nicholas Nahhas
 

Fri 24/02/2012 15:17

NNA - 24/02/2012 - Economy and Trade Minister Nicholas Nahhas said the Consumer Protection Directorate saw fraudulent deeds in selling the red diesel substance.

Nahhas quoted the directorate amidst a press conference he held on Friday at his ministerial bureau. In the conference, Nahhas read a report prepared by the ministry regarding the red diesel file.

He explained that samples of the red diesel was analyzed in the laboratory of oil plants and concluded fraudery in selling the substance.

The directorate also found an uncontrolled adoption of the delivering lists of red diesel - something that paved the way for the distributor not to carry on his distribution duty in a proper method, Nahhas clarified. The directorate thereupon detected a lack of the substance at some duel stations, Nahhas indicated.

The minister said he would refer the report to monitoring sides concerned about the subsidized red diesel file.
 

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Economy - Safadi: Public debt costly, exceeds USD 3.6 billion annually
 

Thu 23/02/2012 21:54

NNA - 23/2/2012 Finance Minister Mohamed Safadi announced that the general public debt service is highly costly, exceeding USD 3.6 billion annually.

Minister Safadi was speaking during a lecture he delivered under the headline of "Lebanese Economy in the Year 2012 - New Challenges and Horizons", organized by Holy Spirit University-Kaslik- Business Administration Faculty on Thursday.

Safadi also declared that the Ministry is about to put forward a new Budget project law that takes into consideration all witnessed amendments.

The Minister also considered that the current situation in Syria has led to the decrease of Lebanese exports to Syria and as such to Arab countries. However, he noted, the negative impact of incidents has not reached a dangerous level.

The lecture was followed by a dialogue between the Minister and Business Administration and Economy Faculty students.
----------------L.Y

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Economy - Fransabank 90th anniversary: Salame promises no inflation, Kassar says economy system protected Lebanon
 

Wed 22/02/2012 21:33

NNA - 22/2/2012 - Under the patronage of Prime Minister Najib Mikati, represented by Finance Minister Mohammad Safadi, Fransabank Group celebrated its 90th anniversary in a financial forum titled "Knowledge". The conference shed light on growth and accomplishments achieved in light of international challenges, in presence of Minister of Information Walid Daouk, Minister of Industry Vrej Sabounjian, and a crowd of business men, economists and magnates.

In his inaugural address, Mr. Adnan Kassar, Chairman of Fransabank, described the 90-year history of Fransabank and successes as "growth and development that command respect and appreciation, and a major asset for the benefit of achievements in the future."

He added: "We organize this conference which brings together leading players so that they share with us their valuable experiences and their success in terms of leadership in business and international finance.
The themes will be beneficial in a region characterized by political instability and significant in a world affected by the financial crisis and economic difficulties."

Mr. Kassar stressed that "the secret of the success of Lebanon and its resilience to regional and international crises lie in the competitive advantage it enjoys through its people and its economic and banking system."

"I mean here, its adaptability to crises and pressures and management challenges with confidence. Knowing that our economy has always been supported by a strong banking sector, we must acknowledge the policies of the Lebanese Central Bank and the wise and prudent management of its governor Riad Salameh," he concluded.

In his delivered word, Lebanese Central Bank Governor, Riad Salame, said: "Fransabank has turned into one of the leading banking groups in Lebanon. And since my appointment as Governor of the Central Bank, I have witnessed the efforts made by Minister and President Adnan Kassar and by President Adel Kassar, owing to which the bank has grown steadily and has contributed to a large extent to the economic development and the growth of the financial sector in Lebanon.

90 years but still young and dynamic! So, many happy returns of the day!
Today, Lebanon enjoys a sound financial situation strengthened by the appropriate monetary environment. However, this was achieved through lengthy efforts, with the aim of building up a solid and strong system, characterized by its conservatism, and well-equipped to face any financial risk, political risk or security-associated risk.
The conservative model that we adopted has borne fruit, as shown by the progress recorded in the balance sheet of the Central Bank and of Lebanese banks in general.

Our conservative banking model is based on a good capitalization. Lebanese Banks are meeting already the 7% solvency ratio required by Basle 3. We have put an objective to reach the 12% solvency ratio by 2015, as stipulated in the BDL recent Circular and agreed upon with banks. Moreover, a 30% minimum liquidity was imposed more than 15 years ago, bringing down the level of leverage to 10 times against the own funds of a bank. We also maintain a strict division between commercial banks and investment banks, since they play totally different roles. We have also established specific regulations that govern derivatives and structured products, as well as credit to the real estate sector and to financial instruments.

Needless to say that markets have appreciated this model, as confirmed by the available figures and ratios. Our model gained confidence, knowing that confidence is a prerequisite for stability.

However, this confidence stems from the strenuous efforts made constantly by the Central Bank, in terms of leadership, credibility, transparency, anticipation and decision-making."
Helmut Maucher, the honorary president of Nestle Global Company, spoke about "Leadership in business".

"We often talk in the business world about the importance of communication technologies and information into business success. However, we sometimes neglect the importance of good leadership in such success."

The intervention of Mr. Jean-Rene Fourtou, Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Vivendi, focused on the "Competitiveness of companies in emerging markets worldwide." He mentioned the evolution of the Vivendi Group, its history and the strategy followed in "the acquisition of Telecom Morocco which achieved tangible success abroad."

Mr Philippe de Fontaine Vive, Vice-President of the European Investment Bank (EIB), spoke on "The role of banks in maintaining sustained growth." He said that if Fransabank could continue operations for 90 years, it was because of the
confidence it had built, and was one
of the key assets of the Bank.

Regarding the international financial crisis, Philippe de Fontaine Vive expressed confidence in the fact that international banks are able, thanks to recovery plans and regulatory reforms, to face the immediate repercussions of the crisis, while confirming their participation in long-term investments.

The conference was followed by a reception attended by over 500 private and public figures and representatives of local and international media.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Economy - Bassil: Cutting VAT on fuel solution to diesel file
 

Wed 22/02/2012 19:39

NNA - 22/02/2012 - Minister Jibran Bassil suggested that a governemt's decision to deduct the VAT incurred on fuel prices as a solution to the pending scandalous diesel file.

Bassil's words came in the context of a press conference held at the House of Parliament, shortly after his meeting with Speaker of the House Nabih Berri. The meeting was attended by Public Health Minister, Ali Hassan Khalil, Deputy Ibrahim Kanaan and others.

Bassil explained that the Lebanese government had thus far paid 209 billion Lebanese Pounds as a subsidy on the diesel substance, and the merchants were annually acquiring benefits from this subsidy over a time period ranging from one to three months.

Bassil said he has been, for three years, objecting against such a matter without receiving any response from the cabinet.

Accordingly, he currently proposed a law-draft to permanently cut VAT on diesel.
A.M./R.K.

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Economy - Safadi, EIB official meet
 

Wed 22/02/2012 14:40

NNA - 22/2/2012 - Minister of Finance, Mohammad Safadi, on Wednesday met with the Vice Head of the European Investment Bank (EIB), Philippe de Fontaine Vive.

The pair reportedly tackled EIB-backed investment projects executed on the level of both private and public sectors.

The meeting also touched on the current political situation in Lebanon and the broader Arab region.

R.A.H./A.B.

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Economy - GLC files complaint to ILO against Labor Ministry
 

Tue 21/02/2012 15:40

NNA - 21/2/2012 - The Lebanese General Labor Confederation (GLC) on Tuesday filed a complaint to the Director General of the International Labor Organization (ILO) in Geneva against the Lebanese Labor Ministry for having breached the International Labor standards, the Lebanese laws in force and the rights acquired from the Lebanese government regarding the tripartite consultation, collective bargaining, syndical freedom and wages definition.

The GLC called on ILO to refer this complaint before the syndical freedom committee and exert the best endeavors, in coordination with the Lebanese government, so as to enforce international labor laws and standards, ratify the wage adjustment retroactivity, and issue the transportation and education allowances decree as per the consensual agreement signed between the economic boards and the GLC.
D.K.

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Economy - Nicolas Nahhas inaugurates "Open Door" conference at Biel
 

Tue 21/02/2012 12:23

NNA - 21/2/2012 - Economy and Trade Minister Nicolas Nahhas inaugurated on Tuesday before noon at Biel "Open Door 2012" conference organized by Microsoft Company and will be held for two days.

Nahhas stressed in his word the necessity of such event amid the current situation, adding that "this event shows the Lebanese keen interest in the IT sector and the recent developments in this field".

The conference which gathers senior companies like Nokia, Dell, Polycom, FVC, promethean aims to enhance IT operation to enhance creativity and innovation.
A.A.M

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Economy - Lebanese Central Bank best Arab electronic bank
 

Mon 20/02/2012 18:51

NNA - 20/2/2012 - Lebanese Central Bank reaped the first prize of the best Arab Electronic Bank, during the third AEB awards ceremony, organized by the Academy of Internet prizes in the Arab World, at Phoenicia Hotel.

The event took place under the patronage of Head of the information technology parliamentary committee, MP Samer Saade, with the participation of a number of central banks of Bahrain, KSA, Jordan, Egypt, Oman, Kuwait, Qatar, and Lebanon, and in presence of Ali Nahle from the Lebanese Central Bank, a panel of ambassadors, Head of the Academy Pierre Moukarzel, representative of ISF Chief, Major General Ashraf Rifi, and a number of high-ranking dignitaries.

R.A.H.

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Economy - Sleiman sponsors opening conference for Social Security
 

Mon 20/02/2012 16:05

NNA - 20/02/2012 - Lebanese President Michel Sleiman, represented by Labor Minister Charbel Nahhas, sponsored on Monday an opening for the First Conference for the Arab Association of Social Security at Coral Beach hotel in Beirut.

The event was attended by State Minister Marwan Kheireddine representing Prime Minister Najib Mikati; Deputy Ali Bazzi representing House Speaker Nabih Berri; Director General of the National Fund for Social Security Muhammad Karaki; and others.

Nahhas gave a word during the event, voicing necessity to invest the Social Security funds by setting investment projects, in order to find job opportunities for youth and provide security for all the categories.
A.M>

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Economy - Safadi, Qassar tackle budget ratification requirements
 

Mon 20/02/2012 14:57

NNA - 20/2/2012 - Finance Minister Muhammad Safadi on Monday tackled with former Minister Adnan Qassar various economic dossiers on top of which the budget project which requires the resumption of cabinet sessions.

Qassar noted that the budget plan submitted by Minister Safadi, as well as the economic bodies' and private sectors' remarks herein were the center of discussion in this meeting.

Qassar confirmed that cabinet sessions needed to be resumed so as to ratify the budget and the pending economic files, the soonest possible.

"The country should not remain without budget, since 2005," he said, assuring to Safadi that the budget's starting point is by reducing public expenses and putting an end to money wasting.

Qassar suggested on Safadi the participation of the private sector in finding solutions for the reactivation of the national economy, particularly at the level of investments, as this sector had the capacity to contribute in restructuring and reorganizing the state's revenues.

"Government's taxes policies are dangerous as they put to jeopardy the national economy," he warned.

Also, both men tackled the transportation allowance issue which is still pending up till now.

"A legal way out must be found immediately," Qassar said finally.
D.K.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Economy - (update) Hajj Hassan inaugurates Lebanese pavilion in UAE food exhibition
 

Mon 20/02/2012 12:35

NNA - 20/2/2012 - Agriculture Minister Hussein Hajj Hassan Monday inaugurated the Lebanese pavilion at the 2012 Gulf Food exhibition in the UAE.

Hajj Hassan met later on with the UAE Water and Energy Minister, as well as other officials.


At another level, the Minister chaired a meeting at the Embassy in Dubai and tackled the Lebanese agricultural products' exportation hindrances so as to find an adequate solution.

L.W.

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Economy - Hajj Hassan inaugurates Lebanese pavilion in UAE food exhibition
 

Mon 20/02/2012 11:40

NNA - 20/2/2012 - Agriculture Minister Hussein Hajj Hassan Monday inaugurated the Lebanese pavilion at the 2012 Gulf Food exhibition in the UAE.

Hajj Hassan met later on with the UAE Water and Energy Minister, as well as other officials.

L.W.

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Economy - Iranian Energy for Lebanon, Syria and Iraq!
 

Sun 19/02/2012 15:00

NNA - 19/02/2012 - Iran is to supply Lebanon, Syria and Iraq with electricity, an economic protocol of understanding has been initialed to this effect between all 4 countries in Tehran yesterday.

The breaking news was carried in dispatch by the Iranian official newspaper IRNA with senior Iranian Energy ministry official Muhammad Bahzad, Iraqi Electricity official Adel Mahdi, Syrian counterpart Hisham Mushaffaj and Lebanese electricity official Najeeb Saleh putting their initials to the protocol.

Iranian official Bahzad, reported that the Iraqis would get 1000 megawatts while the Syrian and Lebanese share stands between 1200-1300 megawatts.

Bahzad anticipated power-supply to all 3 countries within a couple of months pending protocol -ratification by all 4 nations.

G.G./R.K.

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Economy - Charbel sponsors launch of development project in Jezzine
 

Sun 19/02/2012 14:55

NNA - 19/02/2012 Minister of Interior and Municipalities, Marwan Charbel, sponsored Sunday the launching ceremony of "strategic project development of Jezzine," south Lebanon, prepared by the Union of Municipalities of Jezzine, in cooperation and funding of United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

The ceremony held at University of Saint Joseph (USJ) in Beirut, hosted Minister of Telecommunications, Nicolas Sehnaoui, representing MP Michel Aoun and MPs Ziad Aswad, Michel Helou, and Ali Ousseiran.

Charbel gave a speech on the occasion, welcoming "initiative that promotes sustainable development and management of local public affairs."

He pointed in the same context to the Ministry's role in contributing to global development through support to municipalities, and execution of development projects.

"The work of the union of municipalities is becoming more productive," he reported, noting the importance of the development strategy in the region of Jezzine lies not only in investment of human and natural resources to improve the living standards of all social categories, but also in strengthening the human presence in the region, representing a wealth for Lebanon.

 

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Economy - Iranian Embassy launching joint Iranian-Lebanese venture
 

Sat 18/02/2012 16:03

NNA - 18/02/2012 - The Iranian Embassy in Beirut announced the launching of a joint Iranian-Lebanese venture at the close of a visit by a leading Iranian entrepreneurial delegation with the purpose of boosting bilateral economic transactions.

Signatories included Abou el-Qasem Shoufay'i from Iran and Abbas Fawaz from Lebanon in presence of Iranian Ambassador Ghadanfar Roknabadi.

The Iranian Ambassador, for his part, disclosed an Iranian Lebanese board of business management in the making.

Fawaz stressed the role of a new venture as an Iranian exporting outlet to the rest of the Arab World and the region.

G.G./P.BC.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Economy - Ranking Iranian delegation in Tripoli
 

Sat 18/02/2012 12:47

NNA - 18/02/2012 - A ranking Iranian diplomatic-trade delegation headed by Ambassador Ghadanfar Roknabadi visited the Tripoli Chamber of Commerce Today to discuss venues for promoting bilateral trade relations. They were met by Chamber of Commerce Head Michel Bitar and leading Tripoli CEOs.

Taking the word, Iranian Ambassador Roknabadi expressed Tehran's interest in boosting Trade between Iran and Tripoli. He added that Iranian business entrepreneurs and private sector magnates are interested in joint ventures with the Lebanese.

G.G./P.BC.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Economy - Daouk: "Business and Economy" integration into stock market facilitates investment funding
 

Fri 17/02/2012 18:07

NNA - 17/2/2012 Information Minister Walid Daouk called for integrating "Business and Economy" Group into the stock market, in its capacity as a contributing company.

Minister Daouk was speaking during a ceremony held by "Lebanese Association for Business Administration" in honor of "Business and Economy" Group Executive President, Raouf Abu Zaki, at the Phoenicia Hotel in Beirut.

Daouk pointed out that the integration of the said Group in the stock market enables it to obtain long-term investment funding, without having to resort to loaning.

"However, this entails upon the Company to adopt maximum degrees of transparency," Daouk said.

The ceremony was attended by a crowd of concerned political, diplomatic, business, media and academic magnates, notably former House Speaker Hussein Husseini and Saudi Ambassador to Lebanon Ali Awad Oseiri.
--------------L.Y

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Economy - Hajj Hassan tackles national plan on cooperative work
 

Fri 17/02/2012 18:05

NNA - 17/2/2012 - Minister of Agriculture, Hussein Hajj Hassan, on Friday tackled, during a news conference at his ministerial office, the national plan on cooperative work, amid the UN selection of 2012 as the world year for cooperatives.

The Minister said the cooperative sector was of a key importance, whereby a national committee had been formed and had put forth a first-rate paperwork, which helped identify the sector's drawbacks and advantages.

He explained that the report covered the necessity to increase knowledge about the cooperatives' reality, especially following years of government reluctance.

The paperwork also relayed on the importance to draw incentives for the cooperative sector so as to move towards specialized cooperatives and form marketing cooperative unions on the level of districts.

Hajj Hassan did not fail to maintain that activating the role of the institutions concerned with the cooperative work must start with the cooperatives' general directorate, which had been newly boosted by new cadres, selected through the Civil Service Board.

"The work of the National Union of Cooperatives was also reactivated," he said, noting that the law on cooperatives was good by and large but that it required development.

The Minister lastly said that besides agricultural cooperatives, those of housing, consumption, health mutual funds, artisans, production, fabrication, and women in rural areas must be also developed.



R.A.H.

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Economy - Sabounjian, Bartlem tackle bilateral ties' development
 

Fri 17/02/2012 13:34

NNA - 17/2/2012 Industry Minister Freij Sabounjian Friday engaged in talks concerning the development of Lebanese-Australian ties during his meeting with Australia's Ambassador to Lebanon, Lex Bartlem.

Both men also tackled the invitation Sabounjian received to visit Australia by the end of the current month.
"It will be an opportunity to tackle the possibility of opening Australian markets before Lebanese products," the Ambassador said.



L.W.
 

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Economy - Nahhas, Roknabadi discuss trade reinforcement
 

Fri 17/02/2012 13:26

NNA - 17/2/2012 Economy and Trade Minister Nicolas Nahhas Friday tackled the Iranian-Lebanese economic ties reinforcement during his meeting with the Iranian Ambassador to Lebanon Ghadanfar Roknabadi.

Abadi announced following the meeting the establishment of a Lebanese-Iranian trade company and discussed with Nahhas the mechanisms ought to be adopted in light of agreement signed between Iranian-Lebanese businessmen.

"We have also agreed on holding the largest Iranian-Lebanese industrial and trade exhibition on June 15, 16," Abadi said.

At another level, Nahhas convened with the Indonesian Ambassador to Lebanon and tackled with him bilateral ties' development.


L.W.

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Economy - Abboud, Abadi tackle tourism affairs
 

Fri 17/02/2012 10:19

NNA - 17/2/2012 Tourism Minister Fadi Abboud engaged in talks on Lebanese-Iranian tourism ties during his meeting with the Iranian Ambassador Ghadanfar Roknabadi.

Both men also went over Minister Abboud's upcoming visit to Iran next week.

L.W.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Economy - Bassil demands inquiry into red diesel issue since 2004
 

Thu 16/02/2012 18:39

NNA - 16/2/2012 - A statement by the press office at the Ministry of Energy and Water Resources indicated Thursday that Minister Gebran Bassil had since Monday held a series of meetings to launch energy and water-related projects and convened with the international investigation committees formed to delve into the much heated issue of red diesel.

The statement revealed that Bassil demanded the committee conduct full inquiry into the issue since 2004, in an effort to unearth all required details.
 

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Economy - Safadi, Sehnaoui meet
 

Wed 15/02/2012 16:51

NNA - 15/02/2012 - Finance Minister Mohammad Safadi met on Tuesday with Telecommunications Minister Nicolas Sehnaoui with discussions focusing on issues related to the Telecom Ministry's work.

Earlier today, Safadi had met with UAE Ambassador to Lebanon, Yussef Ali Al-Assimi, who extended a letter to the Minister from his UAE counterpart Obeid Hamid Tayer.
R.K.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


 

Economy - Aridi tackles developmental, social affairs
 

Wed 15/02/2012 14:35

NNA - 15/2/2012 - Public Works and Transportation Minister Ghazi Aridi met Wednesday with Agriculture Minister Hussein Hajj Hassan and Deputy Nawar Al-Sahili with talks touching on developmental affairs for Baalbek, Hermel region.

Aridi also tackled with Deputy Ali Ammar the dreadful conditions of fishermen.

Also, both men discussed the necessity of rehabilitating Beirut suburbs' roads devastated by rain and floods.

The Minister later skimmed through political issues and developmental affairs with former Minister Youssef Saadeh.

On another note, the Public Works Minister will hold at 4:00 this afternoon a meeting for taxi drivers syndicate after the increase of public transportation fees.
D.K.
 

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Economy - Sabounjian launches Celep project
 

Wed 15/02/2012 14:00

NNA - 15/2/2012 - Minister of Industry, Vrej Sabounjian, inaugurated Wednesday a workshop on "Strengthening local societies and ways of life" (Celep), organized by the Ministry in cooperation with UNIDO and the Italian Cooperation Office in Lebanon.

The project (Celep) aims at addressing the issue of developing small and medium facilities and enterprises, in North Lebanon, South and Bekaa.

The Minister who toured the Lebanese products exhibition organized at the sidelines of the workshop, stressed on the importance of this project which aims at offering aid to local and rural companies, providing new job opportunities and improving the living conditions of 250 families.

"32 plants were selected in southern Lebanon, Bekaa and North, to benefit from the project" said Sabounjian.

The Minister added that the project takes into consideration the use of equipments that reduce energy consumption and production cost, which are necessary for the green industry and for the respect of the eco-friendly norms.

He thanked, in this regard, the Italian government which funded the project with 1,480 million Euros, welcoming the cooperation with the UNIDO, in favor of the Lebanese industrial sector.

D.K.

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Economy - Abboud; Happy with Arab Tourists' Return!
 

Tue 14/02/2012 13:59

NNA - 14/02/2012 - Minister of Tourism Fadi Abboud, expressed satisfaction at the pace of returning Arab tourism to the country. Abboud prided his ministry's paramount role in attracting a renewed inflow of Arab tourists thought to have dwindled due to the present Syrian unrest. He added that the present touristic inflow registered 27% compared to last year's.

He exclaimed in a public statement today as to why major investments are withheld from skiing and that the prime minister must prove once more that Aounist-held portfolios must be encouraged in their work rather than blocked.

Abboud listed Arab tourists first, to be followed by Europeans and lastly by the Americans and Asians.


G.G./R.K.

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Economy - Sabounjian, Gavo tackle bilateral ties reinforcement
 

Mon 13/02/2012 13:13

NNA - 13/2/2012 Industry Minister Freij Sabounjian Monday tackled Lebanese-Spanish industrial and economic ties during his meeting with the Spanish Ambassador Juan Carlos Gavo.

Both men also engaged in means to hold joint industrial projects so as to discover each country's products and market needs.

Sabounjian also met with Swiss Ambassador to Lebanon Ruth Flint and discussed with her means to develop bilateral ties.


L.W.
 

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Economy - Saudi-Lebanese Economic Forum to kick off in March
 

Fri 10/02/2012 16:58

NNA - 10/2/2012 - Beirut and Mount Lebanon Chamber on Friday announced, during a press conference at its premises, that the Saudi-Lebanese Economic Forum's 7th round would kick off On March 1 and 2 at Phoenicia Hotel, under the auspices of Prime Minister Najib Mikati.

Saudi ambassador, Ali Assiri, as raking up the deep-rooted and historic ties between Lebanon and KSA, renewed the call upon businessmen from both countries to step up inter-communication through exchanging visits and expertise.

"The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia- government, people, and businessmen- have the honor to offer to their brothers in Lebanon the necessary assistance so as to bolster Lebanon's national economy and bilateral relations," said Assiri, who partook in today's conference along with Head of the Economic Committees Adnan Qassar, Head of Beirut Chamber Mohammad Shoucair, CEO of the Economy and Business Group Raouf Abu Zaki, and IDAL chairman Nabil Itani.


R.A.H.

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Economy - Bassil, WB ink agreement on Awwali-Beirut water dragging
 

Wed 8/02/2012 18:03

NNA - 8/2/2012 - Minister of Energy and Water Resources, Gebran Bassil, and Hadi Al-Arabi from the World Bank, on Wednesday inked a loan agreement to drag water from Al-Awwali to Beirut, a USD 370-million project expected to meet the capital's pressing water needs.

The project, funded by the World Bank, is jointly executed by Beirut and Mount Lebanon Water Authority, and the Council for Development and Reconstruction, under the supervision of the Ministry of Water and Energy Resources.

The project consists of dragging 40 million cubic meters from Al-Awwali to Beirut, to cover the city on a 300-meter altitude (from Khalda to Nahr-el-Mot) and the needs of 1.7 million inhabitants.

But Bassil noted that this project, albeit of a vital importance for Beirut, was not enough to meet the city's substantial water needs.

Accordingly, he highlighted the necessity to implement Besri dam project so as to complete Beirut water supply.


R.A.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Economy - Qabbani skims through Lebanese-Cypriot-Israeli fuel conflict
 

Wed 8/02/2012 17:17

NNA - 8/2/2012 - Deputy Muhammad Qabbani held a press conference Wednesday dwelling on the conflict between Lebanon, Cyprus and the Israeli enemy over Lebanon's exclusive economic zone, particularly at its southern side.

The Deputy shed light on the cooperation boosted, day after day, between Cyprus and Israel through agreements touching on fuel oil, renewable energy and energy efficiency, industrial development and research, as well as telecommunications and technology information services.

Also, defense agreements had been signed earlier between Israeli and Cyprus, aimed at preserving stability and peace in the region, especially after Turkey's announcement, on September 2011, to deploy sea patrols in the Mediterranean region to supervise the exploration works across from Cyprus' coasts.

"Partnership between Israel and Cyprus serves both countries interests as it provides for Israel economic prosperity, the capacity to protect its sea facilities and reserves, and capital markets led by fuel oil companies. Cyprus, however, gains international relations and political stability patronized by the European Union, as well as an excellent fiscal system," he explained.

"This issue poses strategic matters over Lebanon", he said, wondering how could the country enhance its diplomatic ties with Turkey which sought after its share in these oil fields between the Mediterranean countries that had already uttered objection to the agreement signed between Cyprus and Israel.

"Talks between Lebanon and Cyprus are underway without the interference of the European union which could play a major role in pushing forward the wheel of negotiations, based on its benefits from the region's oil markets," the MP noted.

Based on the abovementioned information, Qabbani concluded that "despite the formation of a petroleum administrative commission, the procrastination in appointing its six members hinders the issuance of any regulatory decrees, hence delays Lebanon's licensing for petroleum companies to start the exploration and excavation works."

"Negotiations with Cyprus require strengthening the Lebanese negotiating team with international expertise in the field of international law of the sea," Qabbani indicated, calling for "immediate action to form a governing body of the petroleum sector and adopt legal and accurate follow-up measures so as to protect our rights in fuel oil and make out of it an unprecedented economic advancement."
D.K.

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Economy - Safadi: We seek investment budget project for 2012
 

Tue 7/02/2012 18:30

NNA - 7/2/2012 Finance Minister Mohamed Safadi stressed that the Ministry seeks an investment public budget for the year 2012, whose deficit does not exceed L.L.5250 billion.
Minister Safadi was speaking during a symposium he held on Tuesday where he dwelt on his vision regarding amendments introduced to 2012 public budget after drafting the project's first blueprint.
The symposium was organized by Beirut-Mount Lebanon Commerce, Industry and Agriculture Chamber, attended by a great number of economic and financial magnets.
"Budget project stems from a socio-economic vision aiming at inducing growth thus including investment expenditures in the fields of energy, infrastructure... notably electricity production increase, Gaz pipelines network installation and telecommunication and communication sector development," Safadi said.
The Minister also indicated that public sector wages' increase would approximately cost L.L.1400 billion for the current year.
---------------L.Y

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Economy - Khoury from Elysee: to adopt "polluters must pay the price" concept
 

Tue 7/02/2012 15:48

NNA - 7/2/2012 - Environment Minister Nazem Khoury on Tuesday announced the adoption of the concept "polluters must pay the price".

"This concept must be imposed by the union for the Mediterranean on countries which pollute the streams of international waters of the Mediterranean," he said, upon the end of the workshop on "water strategies" held at Elysee palace in presence of ranking dignitaries.

The Minister praised the huge efforts exerted by this union and France, so as to provide potable water for the inhabitants of the Middle Eastern region, as well as irrigation means and sewage facilities.

Khoury eventually ceased the opportunity to call for a massive participation in the next conference of the sort, to be held on April so as to prepare for the Rio +20 summit.
D.K.

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Economy - Abboud receives invitations to Australia, Kazakhstan
 

Tue 7/02/2012 14:18

NNA - 7/02/2012 - Head of the Lebanese-Australian Chamber of Trade - Melbourne, currently on a visit to Lebanon, met Tourism Minister Fadi Abboud on Tuesday over a list of requests of Lebanese -Australian interests.

Tourism activation topped talks between both men who saw eye to eye over the importance of operating MEA flights to Australia.

The visiting delegation, headed by Mr. Fadi Zouki, also extended an invitation to Abboud to take part in the inauguration event of Melbourne Chamber of Trade on February 25, 2012.

Tourism also featured high on talks between the Ambassador of Kazakhstan and Abboud. The Ambassador, who met Abboud at his ministerial office, handed him an invitation to attend the fifth economic forum due to take place in Kazakhstan forthcoming May.
R.H.

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Economy - Nahhas, Eichhorst discuss enhancing social dialogue
 

Fri 3/02/2012 19:34

NNA - 3/2/2012 EU delegation Head in Lebanon Angelina Eichhorst visited on Friday Labor Minister Charbel Nahhas where they boarded means of bolstering social dialogue in Lebanon and social partners' role including syndicates.
Talks also touched on the impending re-launching of Lebanese forums on social and economic development which the EU delegation organized in the years 2007-2009, a statement by EU delegation said.
"These issues shall be discussed by the three sub-committees between the Union and Lebanon during their meeting session upcoming week in Brussels in the framework of European Policy for Neighborhood," statement added.
Sub-committees shall center their discussions on three main axes mainly social policy and immigration, justice, freedom, security, human rights, democracy and governance.

---------------L.Y
 

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Economy - Beirut Port continues growth -Aridi
 

Fri 3/02/2012 15:48

NNA - 03/02/2012 Nemours visitors met with Public Works and Transportation Minister Friday at his office, including Beirut Port officials, and families of Salmaniyeh airplane victims.

Beirut Port CEO, Hassan Qoreitem, President of International Chamber for Shipping, Elie Zakhour, Head of Chamber of Commerce, Mohammad Shoukeir, relayed to Minister Ghazi Aridi the perpetual growth at the Port, which has not been effected by deteriorating conditions of world economy.

In similar news, MP Farid Khazen discussed development of Jounieh Port with the Minister.

Tragic plane crash in Salmaniyeh Airport-Iraq was also on Aridi's agenda, as families of Lebanese victims urged the Minister to reveal final report of air crash investigation.

Aridi reassured the devastated families that Iraqi authorities planned to reveal investigation results in due time.

R.Z.

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Economy - Sehnawi inaugurates Arab telecom and internet forum
 

Fri 3/02/2012 15:24

NNA - 3/2/2012 - Telecommunication Minister Nicolas Sehnawi on Friday inaugurated the 11th session of the Arab forum for telecom and internet, held at Habtoor grand hotel, in presence of five Arab Ministers of Telecommunication and more than 400 participants from different countries.

Sehnawi shed light on the changes lately taking place in Lebanon and the world at the telecom, Information Technologies and internet levels.

"The youth generation ranging between 10 and 18 is the most affected by this technical evolution according to the Telecom Ministry's statistics," he said.

The Minister indicated that communication means were progressing at a fast pace.

"Officials are bound to equip the telecommunications networks so as to open new horizons for the youths and allow them to boost their creativity," he concluded.
D.K.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Economy - Judge Sader to NNA: Constitution is sole Council's alliance
 

Fri 3/02/2012 14:55

NNA - 3/2/2012 The State (Shura) Advisory Council head Judge Shukri Sader Friday said everyone agreed on the salaries' adjustment law requirements but quarrels prevailed over the execution mechanism when every party attempted to pass its own stances.

"The council's sole alignment is the constitution," Sader said.

On the occasion of the conference held to organize Partnership Agreements between Public and Private Sectors, Sader, speaking to the National News Agency, said such a conference aims at tackling one of the most modern means enabling the Lebanese state to accomplish major projects.

"The Public-private partnerships contracts conference, aiming at reinforcing Justice Ministry's potentials, is organized by the International Agency for Legal Cooperation and funded by the European Union," Sader said.


L.W.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Economy - Arab Telecoms Ministers meet in Beirut
 

Thu 2/02/2012 16:01

NNA - 2/2/2012 - The Executive Office of Arab Telecommunications and Information Ministers on Thursday held its 31st round in Beirut, with the participation of Ministers of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Algeria, as well as the Secretary General of the Qatari Higher Council for Telecoms and Information Technology, Secretary General of the International Telecommunications Union, and the Assistant Secretary General of Economic Affairs in the Arab League.

Minister of Telecommunications, Nicolas Sehnaoui, in his capacity as President of the Arab Telecommunications Ministers, said "the Lebanese government highly reckons on the inter-Arab cooperation in the new millennium."

"This cooperation cannot be completed had it not been through modern technology," he corroborated.

"Therefore, we, in the Arab world, must prepare ourselves so as to be a part of this[looming] promising future; it is our responsibility, as executive powers, to encourage both national and Arab economies," he added.

Accordingly, the Minister underscored that Lebanon witnessed a fast move in that direction.

"In the last six months, we raised the internet speed in the landline network by eight times and up to 30 times in the cellular network through the 3G service, which we launched almost three months ago," he explained.

He revealed that works were still underway to extend the optic fibers network and to step up necessary infrastructures and convenient environment to attract Arab and world investments.



R.A.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Economy - Bank Audi's "Loubnani" Card Wins award in New York
 

Thu 2/02/2012 09:24

NNA - 2/2/2012 - Bank Audi announced that the "Loubnani" Mastercard brand identity, which was created by the branding and design consultancy "Tagbrands", was granted the Silver prize at the 2011 Midas Awards in New York.

The Midas Awards prestigious awards are the only awards that recognize excellence in financial services communications on a global scale.

On this occasion, Mrs. Randa Bdeir, Head of Electronic Banking and Cards Services at Bank Audi sal - Audi Saradar Group, stated: "It is a tremendous honor to win such a distinguished global award, especially considering the extraordinary success of the "Loubnani" Mastercard brand development and design, which helped communicate the card's vision to an international audience."

The Midas Grand Jury includes client and agency leaders from the creative and marketing fields, as well as internationally recognized experts in financial policy and communications.

It is worth mentioning that this year's entries were received from 31 countries, and that judges selected winners not only on how well their message is delivered, but also on how it is received by its target audience.

Other winners in the 2011 Midas Awards included "Publicis New York" for their work with "UBS", and "McCann Erickson" for their work with "Mastercard Worldwide".

Mrs. Maya Karanouh, CEO of "Tagbrands", spoke of the challenge of communicating the unique message of the Bank Audi/MasterCard "Loubnani" card, saying: "Our goal was to express the notions of Lebanese heritage and national pride that makes this card so special. By using a combination of Arabic calligraphy and inspiring imagery, and by creating a cedar-scented credit card, we were able to show the world what it means to be Lebanese."

Mrs. Bdeir added: "We look forward to next year's competition, and are delighted that our cooperation with "Tagbrands", which has been going on for 8 years, has helped us develop and communicate over 50 products which all meet our customers' needs."

 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Economy - Tele Liban employees deliver salvation plea to Daouk
 

Wed 1/02/2012 19:44

NNA - 01/02/2012 - Tele Liban's Employees Syndicate Council on Wednesday called for increasing the budget of the nation's TV and modernizing its equipments, so that it can compete with other stations.

The Syndicate implored Information Minister Walid Daouk to pursue efforts to serve Lebanon and salvage its local TV situation.

In a statement issued following the meeting, the Syndicate also voiced concern over the future of the nation's broadcast TV, which had played a pioneering role in the 1970's and 1980's.

Finally, they affirmed that the TV channel was able to regain its old role if only provided with the right means."Tele Liban, which is in the memory of the people and the nation, should never be abandoned."

R.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Economy - Cabinet electricity decisions gain Bassil's gratification
 

Wed 1/02/2012 18:51

NNA - 1/2/2012 - Minister of Energy and Water Resources, Gebran Bassil, deemed the cabinet approval of a pile of electricity-related decisions yesterday as a positive sign to a looming mitigation of the long-simmering power crisis.

The cabinet Okayed, in its session at Baabda palace yesterday, seven decisions relevant to the electricity sector, most of them touching directly on Bassil's plan. Ministers actually agreed to adopt the 700-megawatt project to be funded by the Public Treasury, something that allows Bassil to refer the dossier to the tenders committee within days.

"The 700-megawatt plan was [already] approved by the cabinet during the term of Saad Hariri's government," Bassil told a news conference at the Ministry Wednesday.

He underlined that he would approve the tender, to be compliant with the effective Lebanese laws and meeting all legal, administrative, financial, and technical conditions.

The contract will be subsequently inked with the party wishing to fund the electricity plan within set conditions, he said.

"The government had declared its responsibility of funding the electricity emergency plan to sidestep any delay," he maintained.

Bassil, who hoped law number 462 on electricity sector regulation would be finalized in the nearest time possible, highlighted the necessity that Lebanon produces its own energy.

"We must have our own energy so as to make a surplus, to repair any likely technical failure, or even to send [energy] in the future," he corroborated.

Yesterday's cabinet decisions, which gained the Change and Reform 11 Ministers' gratification, after months of discontent over the government's performance, are hoped to be the stepping-stone to end a long-aged electricity crisis, feared to plunge the country in darkness.



R.A.H.

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Economy - Bassil: Emergency plan bears no further slowdown
 

Wed 1/02/2012 14:07

NNA - 1/2/2012 Water and Energy Minister Gibran Bassil Wednesday said electricity emergency plan bears no further slowdown and government ought to fund it.

During a press conference Bassil said international funds as well as the World Bank might finance other upcoming projects.

"We have concluded the 700 megawatts project waiting for the government's decision on bringing in power generation vessels," the Minister added.

The decision the government had adopted Monday regarding reforms in electricity sector is a very positive initiative, Bassil added.

He then affirmed that the 700 megawatts project was under a 170 day delay.

"But after the approval of this plan hindrances continued and the International Fund's adoption of funding has slowed the projects' execution," he criticized.

Also, Bassil asserted that the decision on bringing in vessels to generate power was adopted yesterday adding that rehabilitating both Zouk and Jiyye plants is a necessary matter.
"Cabinet has called for an immediate execution," he remarked.



L.W.

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Economy - MOF transfers first payment of municipalities' revenues
 

Tue 31/01/2012 15:49

NNA - 31/1/2012 - The Ministry of Finance announced in a statement Tuesday that it transferred the first payment of the municipalities' revenues for the year 2010.

It added that the second payment would be transferred in a two-month-period.

On the other hand, Minister of Finance, Mohammad Safadi, met today at his ministerial office with Egyptian ambassador, Mohammad Tawfiq, over bilateral ties.

R.A.H.

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Economy - Sabounjian follows up food industry's issues
 

Tue 31/01/2012 15:20

NNA - 31/1/2012 - Industry Minister, Vreij Sabounjian, received Tuesday at his ministerial office a delegation of food industrialists with talks touching on the importance of implementing the decision agreed upon by the Agriculture and Industry Ministers to register food factories in conformity with the food safety law.

This decision aims at guaranteeing a better food quality and boosting consumers and international markets' confidence in local food industry.

The delegation invited Sabounjian to participate in the national day for food industry to be held on March 22.
D.K.

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Economy - Nahas tackles alternative energy resources with Danish delegation
 

Tue 31/01/2012 11:53

NNA - 31/1/2012 - Economy and Trade Minister Nicolas Nahas received Tuesday the Danish Ambassador to Lebanon, Jan Top Christensen, accompanied by representatives of Vestas, the Danish company which generates power from wind and alternative resources.

The delegations tackled with Nahas new technologies in the alternative energy resources sector.

Conferees also tackled bilateral economic ties and means to boost trade exchange.
D.K.

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Economy - Bassil, Kuwaiti Fund representative meet
 

Mon 30/01/2012 18:41

NNA - 30/1/2012 - Minister of Energy and Water Resources, Gebran Bassil, on Monday told Nawwaf Dabbous from the Kuwaiti Fund for Development he was fully ready to cooperate with Funds seeking to finance electricity-related projects.

But he called these funds to dispatch experts in order to take note of the books of conditions and tenders, indicating however that he would unearth the identity of those seeking to forestall the execution of power-related projects.

"Those demanding that the funds finance electricity projects seek to block their execution," he said.

Separately, Minister Bassil received today at his ministerial office Danish ambassador to Lebanon, Jan Top Christensen, and the accompanying delegation.


R.A.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Economy - Lebanon upholds headquarters of Arab Union for Industrial Exports Development
 

Mon 30/01/2012 18:13

NNA - 30/01/2012 - It was decided that Lebanon would uphold the main headquarters of the Arab Union for Industrial Exports Development.

The decision was due to Industry Minister Vreij Sabonjian's follow-up for this file with the Arab Organization for Industrial Development. It was found out that Lebanon was qualified enough to uphold the headquarters due to Lebanon's expertise in the field of marketing, Lebanon's economic and financial statuses, and Lebanon's location between the east and the west.

A.M./P.BC.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved
 


Economy - Cleric-led sit-in in southern village
 

Sun 29/01/2012 15:16

NNA - 29/01/2012 - Leading Hizbullah cleric Yaser Ibrahim, led a sit-in in the southern Lebanese village of 'Abba today. The Sit-in staged at the local Housayniyyeh Mosque was in protest against almost total power-cuts, diesel-oil price hikes, absence of basic services including potable water.

Protesters unfurled banners saying they were deprived of basic means of subsistence in a country ruled by clientele mafias and loyalties to potentates.
G.G./P.BC.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Economy - Cleric-led sit-in in southern village
 

Sun 29/01/2012 15:16

NNA - 29/01/2012 - Leading Hizbullah cleric Yaser Ibrahim, led a sit-in in the southern Lebanese village of 'Abba today. The Sit-in staged at the local Housayniyyeh Mosque was in protest against almost total power-cuts, diesel-oil price hikes, absence of basic services including potable water.

Protesters unfurled banners saying they were deprived of basic means of subsistence in a country ruled by clientele mafias and loyalties to potentates.
G.G./P.BC.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Economy - Public Works delegation checks on fishermen's port project in Arida
 

Sat 28/01/2012 18:54

NNA - 28/1/2012 - Transportation Director General at the Public Works and Transport Ministry, Abdel-Hafiz Kaissi, visited Saturday the borderline village of Al-Arida, delegated by Minister Ghazi Aridi. Kaissi was accompanied by a technical team, which inspected the houses nearby the river bank that are threatened of collapsing due to the rising water level in the wake of the heavy rain. The inspection came as a preparation for establishing support walls to protect these houses.
Kaissi and his accompanying delegation also inspected the site proposed for establishing a new fishermen's port nearby Al-Arida village square, which would facilitate the work of fishermen and ensure their safety; especially that fishing is the sole source of living for residents of this area.
In this context, Deputies Nidal Tohme and Mou'een Merehbi expressed their gratitude to Minister Aridi for his concern and attention accorded to lively projects related to the Public Works and Transport Ministry.
R.Sh.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Economy - Naameh protests frequent power-cuts
 

Sat 28/01/2012 17:15

NNA - 28/01/2012 - Haret-Naameh people took to the street in protest against frequent power-cuts. They unfurled a banner saying the whole area of Shouf is being punished by a negligent Energy minister. Naameh municipal official Wassim Mizher also accused Gibran Bassil saying he bore full responsibility for the current state of deteriorating power-supply. He called on the government to provide much needed diesel-oil at the height of the cold winter season.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Economy - Sabounjian briefs Iraqi delegation on industrial expertise
 

Fri 27/01/2012 16:14

NNA - 27/01/2012 - A visiting Iraqi delegation is currently on visit to Lebanon for talks with Minister, Vrej Sabounjian, over Lebanese expertise within the public financial sector, customs management, and statistics.

"Lebanon is keen on preserving the best of economic, industrial, and trade relations with Iraq which is a promising market for Lebanese products," the Minister of Industry told his visitors.

He also called for facilitating exchange operations and mitigating customs-related obstacles between Iraq and Lebanon.
R.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved





 

Economy - Failure in Arab Sat leads to disconnection of Lebanese and Arab channels
 

Thu 26/01/2012 20:50

NNA - 26/1/2012 A technical failure in satellite Arab Sat led to the disconnection of the broadcast of a number of Arab and Lebanese channels, as indicated by Telecom Ministry Terrestrial Station technical team, Telecommunication Minister Nicholas Sehanoui's Media Bureau said in a statement.
The technical team is currently working in coordination with Arab Sat concerned officials to find other alternative solutions to ensure the broadcast of the said channels, statement concluded.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Economy - Ramadan to NNA: Diesel truth will be unveiled to public after one week
 

Thu 26/01/2012 17:37

NNA - 26/01/2012 - Court of Audit head, Judge Aouni Ramadan, told NNA on Thursday that the truth behind the diesel file would hopefully be unveiled after one-week period.

The Judge said that one-million-liter quantity of diesel was sold during the month of subsidy given to said substance to 200 gas companies across the Lebanese territories.

However, he assured, he already sent auditors belonging to the Audit Department to Deir Ammar Plant to probe the matter and release accurate reports, indicating that the truth would be known after one week.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Economy - Sabonjian receives delegation of Trucks Owners Syndicate
 

Thu 26/01/2012 16:59

NNA - 26/01/2012 - Industry Minister Vreij Sabonjian received on Thursday at his office a delegation of Trucks Owners Syndicate headed by Chafic Qassis and Eid Daou. The delegation related to the minister the problems of the transportation sector as concerning the registered public and private trucks.

A.M>

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Economy - Promulgation of wage adjustment decree in official gazette
 

Thu 26/01/2012 15:49

NNA - 26/1/2012 - The decree on minimum wage determination for workers and employees governed by the Labor Law, the high cost of living and its application means were published Thursday in the official gazette.

Decree number 7423 states the following:

Article 1: The provisions of decree number 500/2008 on the determination of the official minimum wage for private sector's workers and employees and the high cost of living are considered null and void.

Article 2: As of 1/1/2012, the monthly official minimum wage is set to 675,000 LL, whereas the daily official minimum wage is set to 30,000 LL, as per the provisions of articles 1 and 2 of law number 36/67.

Article 3: As of 1/2/2012, the high cost of living increase is added to the wage remunerated on 31/12/2011, as follows:

1- An amount of 200,000 LL, added as per decree number 500/2008, is deducted from the wage;

2- The high cost of living increase is added to the amount as follows:

-100% on the first bracket until an amount of 400,000 LL provided that the increase does not exceed 375,000 LL;

-9% on the second bracket between 400,000 and 1,500,000 LL.

3- The difference between the total amount resulting from the previous paragraph and the wage remunerated on 31/12/2011 is calculated, whereas this difference is the increase to be added to the wage which the employer earned on 31/12/2011.

Article 4: All augmentations added since 1/1/2010 and termed expressly in a contract or regulation or record or decision by the competent authority in public administrations as being due to the high cost of living (...) are considered and deducted from the raises stipulated in article 2 of the present decree, unless former augmentations exceed the aforementioned raises.

Article 5: The present decree is published and circulated if need be, and brought into effect as of 1/2/2012.



R.A.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Economy - Beirut Stock Exchange: "BLC" shares in official market
 

Thu 26/01/2012 08:36

NNA - 26/1/2012 - The Beirut Stock Exchange Committee decided to accept, as of Friday, January 27, 2012 the listing, trading and pricing of the 400,000 preferred shares class "A" and the 550,000 preferred shares class "B" issued by BLC Bank SAL on the official market of the stock exchange

 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Economy - N. Nahhas forms committee to follow-up energy drinks
 

Wed 25/01/2012 16:53

NNA - 25/01/2012 - Economy and Trade Minister Nicolas Nahhas announced on Wednesday the formation of committee tasked with adopting decisions to follow up threats emanating from the marketing of energy drinks.

Nahhas met in this concern with a delegation of companies importing and producing the energy drinks that included alcohol.

The meeting has been attended by acting Director General of the Economy and Trade Ministry, Fouad Fleifel, and the Director of Quality Unit, Ali Berro.

A.M./P.BC.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Economy - Osseiran: Generating vessels temporary solution
 

Wed 25/01/2012 12:13

NNA - 25/1/2012 - MP Ali Osseiran Wednesday said bringing in Power Generation Vessels might be the temporary solution for Lebanese power crisis.

Osseiran noted that the utmost important thing is to have Lebanese citizens fulfill their obligations and pay electricity bills.

L.W.
 

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Economy - Zahle MPs, March 14 call on Bassil to resign
 

Wed 25/01/2012 11:39

NNA - 25/1/2012 - Zahle Deputies and March 14 forces Wednesday gathered to call on Minister Gibran Bassil to resign.

Both parties' call resulted from the severe power rationing in Zahle region that was, according to conferees, uneven with what other Lebanese regions are being subject to.

In their joint meeting held at the Lebanese Forces headquarters, attendees said political party that had been running the power sector in Lebanon has proven of its failure through its adopted mentality in running such a dossier.

"We call on Minister Bassil to resign as we express our appreciation for his efforts that have lead the sector to the current situation," conferees said in their statement.

Also, the statement said MPs, political parties, and civil society figures to stage mass protests in case the Ministry and EDL do not reduce rationing gradually.


L.W.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Economy - Bahrain Air opens Beirut-Kuwait direct flights
 

Tue 24/01/2012 16:32

NNA - 24/1/2012 - The Director of Bahrain Air in Beirut, Suzan Rajabian, announced in a statement issued Tuesday that Bahrain Air will open a new direct line between Beirut and Kuwait, with an average of four flights per week, basically on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.

The first flight for Bahrain Air is expected to arrive to Beirut International Airport next Thursday, coming from Kuwait.

Rajabian finally wished prosperity for the air transport sector in Lebanon and the Arab world.

D.K.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Economy - Salameh: Lebanese banks keen to preserve good relations with subsidiaries
 

Tue 24/01/2012 12:56

NNA - 24/1/2012 - Central Bank governor Riad Salameh said on Tuesday that the Lebanese banking sector is keen to maintain good and clear ties with all its subsidiaries abroad and most notably in Syria where Lebanese banks have presence there.

He added that the Lebanese banks operating in Syria will abide by all the rules and regulations set by the host countries.

Salameh made these remarks at opening of the a conference on funding of Small and Medium size businesses in the Middle East and North African countries which was held at the Phoenicia hotel which is organized by the IFC and Austrian Development Bank.

Salameh shed light on the broad activities of the Lebanese banks, especially in field of lending to both the private and public sectors.

"Our monetary policy has enabled the Lebanese pound to remain stable and has bolstered the confidence in the Lebanese banking sector. All these factors also caused the interest rates to fall while assets continued to grow which ultimately induced lending to small and medium size businesses in Lebanon."

Salameh indicated that banking lending rose by 14 percent in 2011 compared to 23 percent in 2010, adding that SMEs received substantial share from these loans.

Salameh noticed that the Lebanese pound has regained the confidence and trust of investors.

The governor reiterated that the Central Bank will maintain its monetary policy because this measure allowed the Lebanese pound to remain stable.

"This policy is important to keep inflation at bay and to weather the effects of wage increase on the prices of commodities."

He assured that the Lebanese banks continue to draw deposits and liquidity.

Salameh indicated that loans to the private sector have exceeded the loans to the public sector.

The private sector received $40 billion of loans compared to $29 billion to the public sector.

O.H

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Economy - Increasing demands, diminishing production behind power blackout: Bassil
 

Mon 23/01/2012 22:19

NNA - 23/01/2012 - Water and Energy Minister, Jibran Bassil, blamed the electricity blackout saga Lebanon currently endures to the mounting demand on the thinning electricity supply.

The old electricity factories, damaged transformers, lack of investments, towering cost of repair parts, are all reasons that Bassil mentioned to be behind the increasing darkness the Lebanese have tolerated within the last few days.

"On many occasions, I have repeatedly warned (...) of this growing disaster, especially at the absence of power supply from Syria and Egypt," Bassil said.

Moreover, he explained that attempts at mitigating electricity supply problems, in no way meant solving the problem.

"The only solution to this problem remains the implementation of the electricity bill previously approved by the Council of Ministers," Bassil said.

Displaying some of the steps which have already been adopted by the Water and Energy Ministry to lessen electricity blackouts, the Minister suggested the implementation of five or six projects at least, "to show the Lebanese that a solution to the electricity problem has begun."

But Bassil failed to promise the Lebanese with increasing hours of electricity, saying that was Electricite Du Liban's full capacity.

"The only thing we can do to make the Lebanese feel equal, is to provide Beirut with the same power supply of other regions," he said, considering the fact of supplying Beirut city with 21 hours of electricity was objectionable.

"I have sent a letter to EDL requesting a quick study (...). The first is to treat Beirut city equally with other regions, the second is to provide power supply depending on revenues or network trespassing operations made in some regions," he said.

Furthermore, Bassil indirectly called on the Lebanese people to peacefully resort to the street to protest increasing electricity cuts.

"It is our responsibility to provide the Lebanese with this service, but it is also the responsibility of the Lebanese Government, House of Parliament, and political teams. It is a responsibility that all the Lebanese should handle together," he said, refusing attempts at forging facts and throwing accusations at one another.
R.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Economy - Shoucair lambasts Nahhas's refusal to approve transportation allowance
 

Mon 23/01/2012 17:38

NNA - 23/1/2012 - Head of Beirut and Mount Lebanon Chambers Union, Mohammad Shoucair, on Monday lashed out at the refusal of Labor Minister Charbel Nahhas to sign a decree on transportation allowance.

"This is an unprecedented first for a Minister to stand in the face of people and workers' interests," Shoucair said in a statement.

He thus reiterated the Economic Committees' commitment to fully implement Baabda consensual agreement, especially pertaining to transportation and scholar allowances.


R.A.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved






 

Economy - FAO assists Lebanese Water Sector
 

Mon 23/01/2012 14:19

NNA - 23/1/2012 - The predicted effects of climate change in the Region alongside the increasing demand for domestic, industrial and agricultural water uses, are urging the Lebanese Government to develop new strategies and policies to enhance the efficiency of water distribution and avoid losses.

FAO in collaboration with the Italian Cooperation, the Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Water and Energy is developing several projects to tackle water scarcity in order to guarantee the improvement in food security and the eradication of poverty. In this concern the following projects have been launched:

"Re-use of Treated Effluent and Sludge at Iaat Wastewater Treatment Plant project". On July 2009, the Council of Development and Reconstruction (CDR), upon a recommendation from the World Bank, signed an official project agreement with the FAO to provide technical assistance services in respect of the Re-use of Treated Effluent and Sludge at Iaat Wastewater Treatment Plant. Two guidelines (English & Arabic) for the reuse of treated effluent and sludge were developed. Furthermore, the project succeeded in carrying out some studies and experiments to assess the potential of treated water used for specific crops and type of soils. It has also provided awareness and trainings to all concerned stakeholders. A brochure regarding the results of this project will be distributed in the forthcoming months.

"Coping with water scarcity" the role of agriculture. Phase III: Strengthening national capacities". This project has been identified as one of the main flagship programme of the cooperation between Italy and FAO. The outcome of the project will be strengthened national capacities regarding possible interventions for improved water management in general, and dealing with the agricultural component of water scarcity in particular. At the national level, a particular focus will be made on the improved use of treated wastewater for irrigation at Iaat Wastewater Treatment Plant built on the outcomes of the project UTF/LEB/019/LEB.

"Development of water management in the Caza of Marjayoun" The goal of this project aims at support the agricultural development in the Caza of Marjayoun through the implementation of a modernization plan for the management of the identified irrigation scheme. To achieve this goal, this project foresees the following immediate objectives: (1) Contribute to improve water demand management in irrigation. (2) Contribute to increased knowledge of farmers and institutional personnel with regard to new irrigation technology and management practices to enhance the efficiency and the productivity of water use.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Economy - Sabounjian, UNIDO regional director tackle industrialists' training
 

Mon 23/01/2012 13:54

NNA - 23/1/2012 Industry Minister Freij Sabounjian Monday engaged in talks concerning the UNIDO activities in spreading awareness, training, and guiding industrialists on the importance of packaging in products' marketing process.

During his meeting with the UNIDO (UN Industrial Development Organization) regional director Khaled Al-Mikwad as well as the Libanpack Chairperson, the Minister stressed the need to have the role of packaging be eminent so as to preserve products' quality, increase competitiveness level, and raise sales' rate.


 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Economy - Aridi inspects Kleiaat airport
 

Mon 23/01/2012 12:29

NNA - 23/1/2012 - Public Works and Transport Minister Ghazi Aridi accompanied by a delegation arrived on Monday to Kleiaat airport to inspect the facility and to be briefed on its technical and construction needs.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Economy - Zahra presents building safety proposal
 

Sat 21/01/2012 14:24

NNA - 21/01/2012 A new draft law that requires building-owners to get a municipal affidavit stating their building is habitable could be a solution to save people future collapse catastrophes according to MP Antoine Zahra.

The Lebanese Forces Parliamentarian proposal came on the backdrop of Achrafieh building collapse which killed 27 and severely injured 12 others earlier this week.

The suggestion stated that said affidavit should be acquired every five years, and did not eliminate the need to establish a national commission for catastrophes which the House of Representatives was currently working on.

R.Z.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved






 

Economy - Sabounjian, Nahas follow up coordination between Ministries to boost investments, reduce taxes
 

Fri 20/01/2012 14:06

NNA - 20/1/2012 - Minister of Economy and Trade, Nicolas Nahas held Friday with the Industry Minister Vreij Sabounjian a meeting dwelling on the execution of joint projects between the two Ministries aimed at boosting industrialists work and reactivating institutions' performance.

The meeting's agenda included more than one item, on top of which the establishment of industrial zones, the reduction of taxes on industrial exports' benefits, the exemption of industrial machines and raw materials from port's taxes, and the creation of motives for institutions concerned with researches and studies.

Sabonjian informed Nahas of the efforts exerted at this level in cooperation with the Foreign Affairs, Interior, Public Works, and Education Ministries.

The Industry Minister said the meeting focused on the issue of industrial zones mentioned in the ministerial statement.
"There's an old decree that needs to be revised and amended carefully so as to reach a final formula that suits best the industrialists' needs," he added.

Sabounjian confirmed as well that, in order to reach the expected success, efforts must be united between Finance, Economy, Trade and Industry Ministries.

Minister Nahas, however, announced that a study is currently underway to come out with practical decisions and suggestions which motivate the economy and draw investments.

"It is best for us to show the economic society that this government is serious in encouraging industrial, commercial, touristic and agricultural investments and provide adequate ground for them," the Minister noted.
D.K.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Economy - Nahhas follows up banking sector's pending issues
 

Fri 20/01/2012 12:31

NNA - 20/1/2012 - Labor Minister Charbel Nahhas received Friday at his ministerial office a delegation of banks' employees association headed by Georges Al-Hajj.

The delegation thanked the Minister for the efforts he exerted for adjusting wages.

Hajj informed Nahhas of the ongoing negotiations to renew the banks' collective contracts; an issue that has been pending for over a year now, hence requires the mediation of the Labor Ministry.
Discussions also touched on the retirement and social security projects and means to address them.
D.K.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Economy - FPM forms engineering committee to inspect old buildings' structure
 

Thu 19/01/2012 19:36

NNA - 19/01/2012 - The Free Patriotic Movement of Beirut Branch announced its formation of a committee composed of engineering members whose aim was to inspect the structure of old buildings probable to collapse.

It asked every citizen feeling a sort of fraudery practiced against him in surveying or classifying old buildings to resort to the following mobile number as reference of complaint: 700013318.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserve


Economy - Safadi follows up on financial, banking affairs
 

Thu 19/01/2012 18:56

NNA - 19/1/2012 - Minister of Finance Mohammad Safadi on Thursday met with the administration board of Banks Association, headed by Joseph Torbey, over the current economic and financial situation in Lebanon.

Talks also featured high on the situation of the Lebanese banking sector.

On the other hand, Safadi received today at his office Brazilian ambassador to Lebanon, with talks touching on the investment opportunities in both Lebanon and Brazil.


R.A.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Economy - Rental-purchase Law Project amendment approved
 

Thu 19/01/2012 18:43

NNA - 19/01/2012 - Social Affairs Minister Wael Abu Faour launched on Thursday the amendment of rental-purchase law that was approved in 2006.

It is to note that this law had thus far not been implemented for the purpose of issuing regulatory decrees that would be referred to the cabinet as soon as possible.

The decrees include a package of motivations and exemptions that encourage investors to cooperate with the Public Housing Institute.

Abu Faour headed a meeting for the administrative council of the Public Housing Institute, in presence of the acting Administrative Council head of said institute Abdullah Haidar, acting Director General of said institute Muhammad Younis and other members affiliated with the institute.

Abu Faour said they tackled in the meeting numerous items and projects aiming at finding solutions to the housing crisis in Lebanon.

 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Economy - Sabonjian pro "LIBNOR" activation
 

Thu 19/01/2012 14:34

NNA - 19/01/2012 - Minister of Industry Vrej Sabonjian on Thursday underscored the necessaty of activating and supporting the Lebanese Standards Institution (LIBNOR).

In a visit to LIBNOR's headquarters in Sin Al-Fil, the Minister voiced appreciation to concereted efforts by insitutiton members, despite the expiration of its Executive Council and many vacant places hindering its performance.

Sabounjian highlighted the importance of setting incentives for LIBNOR employees "who survived the tough circumstances of their job."
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Economy - Aridi discusses developmental affairs with visitors
 

Wed 18/01/2012 16:33

NNA - 18/01/2012 - Public Works and Transportation Minister Ghazi Aridi discussed on Wednesday with his visitors developmental projects across different Lebanese regions. He also discussed the appropriation law issue with Deputy Nabil Nicholas, who thanked Aridi for his efforts in returning rights to citizens in this concern.

Aridi received at his office Deputy Qassem Abdul Aziz who discussed with the host building Menieh - Azki highway in the north.

Afterwards, he received Morocco's Ambassador Ali Oumlil and reviewed with him bilateral ties.

Amongst Aridi's visitors has been a delegation of Private Pilots Association headed by Mazen As-Samak.

A.M./P.BC.

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Economy - Shoucair, Australian diplomat agree to bolster ties
 

Wed 18/01/2012 15:43

NNA - 18/1/2012 - Head of Beirut and Mount Lebanon Chambers Union, Mohammad Shoucair, and Australian ambassador to Lebanon, Lex Bartlem, on Wednesday met over the means to boost bilateral ties on the economic level.

During the meeting, Shoucair couched to the diplomat the wish of the Lebanese private sector to develop cooperation with Australia, considering the substantial presence of the Lebanese Diaspora in this overseas country.

"The economic and commercial relations between Lebanon and Australia are still not up to scratch," Shoucair noted, indicating that the two-pronged trade exchange is still underrated.

He highlighted the necessity to intensify efforts so as to promote these relations to the required level.

"There are many available opportunities which ought to be seized in favor of both Lebanon and Australia," said Shoucair, who is scheduled to head a delegation of Lebanese business bound to Australia on forthcoming February 25.



R.A.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved













 

Economy - Khoury signs removal of Ozone-hurting materials
 

Wed 18/01/2012 14:57

NNA - 18/01/2012 - Environment Minister Nazem Khoury signed on Wednesday the project related to the disposal of Hydrochlorofluorocarbon materials harming the Ozone layer.

The signing event, attended by UNDP director in Lebanon Seifeddine Abaro, Montreal Protocol Program director Suili Carvalo, National Ozone Unit head at Environment Minister Mazen Hussein, was held at Holiday Inn hotel in Verdun/Beirut.

A.M./P.BC.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Economy - Nahas tackles economic ties with Greek, Italian Ambassadors
 

Wed 18/01/2012 14:40

NNA - 18/1/2012 - Economy and Trade Minister Nicolas Nahas received Wednesday the Greek Ambassador to Lebanon, Catherine Bora, who came on a protocol visit mainly focusing on how to keep active the talks between Lebanon and Greece regarding means to boost economic ties and commercial exchange.

Also, Minister Nahas met with the Italian Ambassador to Lebanon Giuseppe Morabito with talks featuring high on economic relations and trade affairs.

Both men tackled the forthcoming visit of the Italian Foreign Affairs Minister to Lebanon next week.

Separately, Nahas held a meeting with a delegation of food, goods and beverages importers' syndicate, whereby they discussed hindrances derailing the flow of products and the importance of ratifying the law on food safety.
D.K.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved
 








 

Economy - Abboud: Wage dossier will be settled today
 

Wed 18/01/2012 11:36

NNA - 18/1/2012 - Tourism Minister Fadi Abboud uttered certainty that the wage dossier will be finally settled in today's cabinet session, by legalizing the consensual accord between the economic boards and the General Labor Confederation (GLC).

The Minister told the Voice of Lebanon - Voice of Freedom and Dignity station that the state Shura council was clear in this regard.

He said "the government has to accept the consensual agreements, ruling out the possibility of having to resort to voting."
D.K.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Economy - Agreement between Lebanese University, LIRA program
 

Tue 17/01/2012 15:10

NNA - 17/01/2012 - Industry Minister Vreij Sabonjian, Lebanese University Head Adnan Sayyid Hussein, the Secretary General for the National Council for Sceintific Researches Muin Hamzeh and Head of the Lebanese Industrialists Association Neemat Ifram signed on Tuesday an agreement of cooperation between the Lebanese University and the Lebanese Industrial Research Achievements program (LIRA).

The agreement aimed at boosting projects that would help university students on the industrial level.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Economy - Abboud, restaurants' owners discuss sector's hindrances
 

Mon 16/01/2012 13:58

NNA - 16/1/2012 Tourism Minister Fadi Abboud Monday followed up on the situation of restaurants sector during his meeting with a delegation of the Syndicate of Owners of Restaurants, Cafes, Night-Clubs and Pastries in Lebanon, headed by the syndicate vice head Khaled Nazha.

The delegation briefed the Minister on the difficulties hindering several institutions' obtaining the Bureau Veritas certificate.

Bureau Veritas is a global leader in conformity assessment and certification services.
It is a global leader in conformity assessment and certification services.
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L.W.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Economy - Aridi: Tripoli Port capable of receiving large ships
 

Mon 16/01/2012 10:47

NNA - 16/1/2012 - Public Works and Transportation Minister Ghazi Aridi said Tripoli Port has the ability to receive and handle the world's largest ships thanks to the modern facilities and big basins.

The minister made these comments during his visit of Tripoli Port along with a delegation from the Arab League and officials from the port.

The delegation inspected the work to expand and widen the basins at the port and all the facilities.

Aridi stressed that the first phase of ports expansion has been completed after some delay.

"We are today before a port capable of receiving the largest ships in the world. In February we will inaugurate the first phase of the expansion project and then we will proceed with the second phase. The reclaimed land near the port will boast equipped facilities and buildings," Aridi said.

He added that the book of conditions for the second tender will start very soon.

Aridi did not believe that some political quarters in the country would block the expansion of Tripoli port under different excuses.

The Arab League delegation also heaped praise on the project.

O.

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Economy - Sabonjian meets Sassi, Ifram
 

Fri 13/01/2012 16:24

NNA - 13/01/2012 - Industry Minister Vreij Sabonjian met on Friday at his office with the Algerian Ambassador Ibrahim Sassi over activating cooperation between both countries, especially on the economic, industrial and commercial levels.

Separately, Sabonjian received at his office head of the Lebanese Industrialists Association Neemat Ifram and discussed with him industrial affairs.

A.M./P.BC.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved




 

Economy - Spain signs an agreement on Consultancy and Technical Assistance with the Lebanese Ministry of Agriculture
 

Fri 13/01/2012 15:45

NNA - 13/01/2012 - As part of his visit to Lebanon (from January 10th to 15th, 2012), H.E. Mr. Joseph Maria Pelegri, Councilor of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries, Food and Environment of the Government of the Autonomous Community of Catalonia, accompanied by a delegation composed of Ms. Susana Cucurella, Chief of Protocol of the Office of the Councilor, Mrs. Gloria Dominguez, Director of the Forest Technology Centre of Catalonia CTFC, Mr. David Solano, Director of International Cooperation of the CTFC, and H. E. the Ambassador of Spain to Lebanon, Mr. Juan Carlos Gafo, met with H. E. Lebanese Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Hussein Hajj Hasan.
During the meeting, Mr. Pelegri reiterated his intention to cooperate with the Ministry in all areas, especially in terms of forestry resources, and expressed his willingness to open more doors for future cooperation, strengthen bilateral relations and encourage technical and commercial exchanges in the agriculture sector.
At the end of the meeting, both sides, in collaboration with the YMCA and the CTFC, signed a cooperation agreement, of 10 months and with an amount of approximately $ 100.000, on consultancy and technical assistance under the title "Tools for the Sustainable Management and Conservation of the Oaks in Lebanon".
It should be noted that Spanish Cooperation has funded several projects in the field of agriculture in various parts of the country. In the strategic development of productive capacities, Spain has financed, through the Fund for the Reconstruction of Lebanon, programs such as CEDRO for the promotion of renewable energy (8 million Euros), "Flood and Water Management of Livelihood Recovery in Baalback - Hermel" (6.6 million Euros) to improve the irrigation systems and "Hydro project for Agricultural Development in Marjeyoun Area" (1. 5 million Euros).
And lately, the Lebanese Ministry of Agriculture received a grant from Spain for the financing of a project on the establishment of 3 water reservoirs in the area of Maroun Ras.

 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Economy - Nahhas proposes 800 thousand L.L. as munimum wage in PIC meeting
 

Thu 12/01/2012 19:32
 

NNA - 12/01/2012 - Minister of Labor, Nicolas Nahhas, said he proposed during a meeting for the Price Index Committee the sum amount 800 thousand Lebanese Pounds as the minimum wage for employees, and that his proposal would be referred to cabinet for study.

Nahhas said that the government must regularly look into the wages issue by taking into consideration the high cost of living - something allowed by law, according to him.
A.M.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved

Economy - Bassil calls to permanently exempt diesel from VAT
 

Thu 12/01/2012 17:11

NNA - 12/1/2012 - Minister of Energy and Water Resources, Gebran Bassil, on Thursday called to exempt diesel from the Value-Added Tax (VAT) permanently, avowing that he was against this fuel's season supply.

He said the elaboration of a law to adopt gas and diesel as fuel for cars was part of his goals, in the light of fuel price hike.

"Gas-functioning cars are more eco friendly than those working on oil," he noted.

He reminded that the Change and Reform Bloc had proposed many laws on the matter with no favorable answers as yet.

"Lebanon is need for adopting the alternative fuel policy," he maintained.

Separately, the Minister met today with Spanish Minister of Agriculture, accompanied by the Spanish ambassador to Lebanon and Director of YMCA.

Talks featured high on an array of projects relevant to irrigation.

Bassil later met with Egyptian ambassador, Mohammad Tawfiq, over the means to boost bilateral cooperation between Lebanon and Egypt.


R.A.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Economic - Economic Committees seek cabinet to Okay Baabda consensual agreement
 

Thu 12/01/2012 16:31

NNA - 12/1/2012 - The Economic Committees on Thursday reiterated holding onto the Baabda-brokered consensual agreement on wage adjustment between the Committees and the General Labor Confederation late December.

They called the cabinet to approve, during its first upcoming session, the agreement, which they termed as being tantamount to a "historic achievement" between production actors.

Minister of Labor, Charbel Nahhas, chaired yesterday a four-hour meeting for the Price Index Committee with the presence of the GLC, Economic Committees, and representatives of central statistics to discuss the long-simmering salaries increase item, hours after the State Shura Council approved Nahhas's wage package proposal, provided that its remarks should be taken into consideration.

Head of Lebanon's Chambers Union, Mohammad Shoucair and representatives of the Economic Committees in the Price Index Committee today held an emergent meeting in Beirut Chamber of Commerce, Industry, and Agriculture, to lay bare their notes about yesterday's meeting and couch cleaving to Baabda's consensual agreement.



R.A.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Economy - Abboud, Philippines ambassador tackle ties
 

Thu 12/01/2012 15:12
NNA - 12/1/2012 - Minister of Tourism, Fadi Abboud, on Thursday met with newly appointed ambassador of Philippines to Lebanon over bilateral ties on both tourism and economic levels.

The ambassador, who duly presented her credentials in December to the Lebanese President, said her country pinned great importance on developing relations with Lebanon, which receives nearly 45 thousands workers from Philippines.

"I highly appreciate the support I sensed from the [Lebanese] Minister of Tourism on this matter," she said.



R.A.H.

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Economy - Nahhas chairs Price Index Committee meeting pending final word on wage boost
 

Wed 11/01/2012 22:16

NNA - 11/01/2011 - A final meeting will be taking place tomorrow, Thursday, for a final word by the General Labor Confederation (GLC) and Economic Bodies representative's on the wage hike plan, Labor Minister Charbel Nahhas said following the Price Index Committee's meeting on Wednesday.

Chaired by Nahhas, the Price Index Committee held a four-hour meeting in presence of GLC, economic bodies, and central statistics' representatives. The meeting was devoted to discuss the agreed sum of money to be paid by business owners to employees and which had been simultaneously been approved by the GLC.

"Their answer will reveal whether we will be able to translate this agreement with the GLC and economic bodies in to a legal formula (...) but if they insist to have the government cover some institutions, then we will not violate the law," Nahhas said.

The committee, tasked with reviewing the cost of living data, also determined during today's meeting whether the demand for higher minimum wage was valid.

However, Nahhas made clear that the wage plan was drafted in a way to protect employers and employees alike.

The State Shura Council approved today the proposed wage increase package, provided that its previous remarks would be taken into account.

Last week, the State Shura Council rejected a wage hike plan put forth by Minister Nahhas suggesting to increase the minimum wage to LL868,000 - a sum that includes a LL236,000 transportation allowance. The Council argued that any attempt to add the daily transportation allowance as a fixed part of the monthly salary was against the law.
R.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Economy - Abboud, Kavlakian discuss bilateral ties
 

Wed 11/01/2012 13:04

NNA - 11/1/2012 Tourism Minister Fadi Abboud Wednesday engaged in talks concerning Lebanese-Kazakhstani ties during meeting with Lebanese Ambassador to Kazakhstan, Vasken Kavlakian.

Both men also tackled Lebanon's participation in the upcoming exhibition to be held in Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan, next April, in presence of Minister Abboud.


L.W.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Economy - Power distribution project to kick off in March, says Bassil
 

Mon 9/01/2012 17:28

NNA - 9/1/2012 - Minister of Energy and Water Resources, Gebran Bassil, on Monday told a news conference that the power distribution project would kick off in forthcoming March, 18 months after finalizing related studies, tenders, and classifications and following two judicial decisions in favor of services suppliers.

The Minister said the execution of the power distribution project was tantamount a substantial step forward and a major quality leap for Lebanon on the level of electricity.

He revealed that the Ministry had saved, through this project-related tender, USD 111 million.

Bassil underscored that the tender was adopted with full transparency and with the participation of all companies.

"The losing companies even dispatched letters hereby confirming that the tender was carried out with the necessary transparency; we can say that the decisions issued by the State Shura Council and the Auditing Department [indeed] proved that the project was flawless," Bassil said.

The Minister had separately met today with Iranian ambassador to Lebanon, Ghazanfar Roknabadi, over Balaa water dam project in Batroun locality, after the approbation of the cabinet.

The diplomat told reporters following the meeting that talks also broached oil and gas dossier especially considering the required energy in the Iranian companies.



R.A.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved















 

 


Economy - Bassil expects oil prospecting tenders within 3 months, no conflict with Israel
 

Sun 8/01/2012 15:25

NNA - 08/01/2012 Energy and Water Minister Gibran Bassil asserted to Agence France Presse Sunday that Lebanon plans tender-attraction for offshore oil prospecting within the coming three months, downgrading dangers of possible Israeli clash.

The House passed a law setting Lebanon's maritime boundary and Exclusive Economic Zone last August. Lebanon also officially submitted to the United Nations a maritime map that conflicted with the one proposed by Israel.

"American, European, Russian and Chinese groups have expressed interest," said the Minister, "we are working on making possible offshore prospecting a stabilizing factor [for Lebanon] rather than a reason for dispute."

Bassil was certain that Israel had no interest in threatening Lebanon's oil, as it had its own oil to focus on.

R.Z.

 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Economy - Bassil lauds Oil sector draft law endorsement
 

Thu 5/01/2012 19:41

NNA - 5/1/2012 Water and Energy Minister Jibran Bassil regarded the Cabinet's endorsement of oil sector law draft as a registered accomplishment by the government as a whole that abided by the deadline set by the ministerial statement.
The Cabinet endorsed during Wednesday session the Oil Sector Administrative Body's draft law.
Bassil was speaking during a press conference at his ministerial office on Thursday, where he dwelt on an array of related topics.
"The oil issue requires speedy action unlike the pace taken in other files", Bassil said, calling for a swift appointment of fuel sector administrative Board and the completion of decrees to launch international tenders.
Bassil stressed that any delay in this regards is not permissible.
On the other hand, Basil launched "Janna Dam" Project, considered to be one of the biggest dams in Lebanon.
"Janna Dam" is a water project located in Nahr Ibrahim area benefiting people of the North and the South. The project's cost is estimated at USD 200 millions, to be carried out on two consecutive stages.
-------------------L.Y

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Economy - Nahhas sees growth mainstay to shunning recession
 

Thu 5/01/2012 18:17

NNA - 5/1/2012 - Minister of Economy and Trade, Nicolas Nahhas, on Thursday said growth was the most essential factor to eschew economic recession and to face existing lacks on the economic, financial, and social levels.

"This growth is up to the private sector with the support of the public one, which falls short of capitals and purchasing power so as to generate sought growth," Nahhas told a press conference on the challenges and perspectives of the Lebanese national economy in 2012, at USEK.

As shedding light on the "productive and lucrative" economy, the Minister also stressed that encouraging and beefing up investment in Lebanon were a dire necessity.

Besides, he noted the presence of three paramount related strategies, which are as follows: a fiscal strategy which tips the balance among the different sectors in the country, an economic one which allows the formation of resources, and a monetary strategy which he deemed as urgent.

On tourism, Nahhas said that this sector dropped by 25% down to the Arab Spring's repercussions and that the ratio of Arab tourists only reached 34% in 2011, comparing to a 42% ratio in 2010.

He then called upon the state to carry out necessary and required reforms through reducing the deficit ratio, improving the productivity of the economic sector, enhancing the performance of services related to justice, security, and environment, as well as assuring an ambiance favorable for investment and supporting small and medium enterprises.




R.A.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved

 



















 

 

Economy - Safadi meets Nahhas, Sabounjian
 

Thu 5/01/2012 17:49


NNA - 5/1/2012 - Minister of Finance, Mohammad Safadi, on Thursday met with Ministers of Economy and Industry, Nicolas Nahhas and Vreij Sabounjian, over an array of financial issues relevant to the work of industrialists and merchants.

R.A.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Economy - Abboud follows up Majid Al Futtaim Group's projects in Lebanon
 

Thu 5/01/2012 15:00

NNA - 5/1/2012 - Tourism Minister Fadi Abboud tackled Thursday with a delegation of Majid Al Futtaim Group its projects and investments in Lebanese for the past five years.

The delegation briefed Abboud on the plan set for the 2012, with special focus on the touristic projects executed in Dbayeh through the "city center" mall.

Abboud indicated that these ongoing projects can provide around 10 thousand job opportunities for the Lebanese.

The delegation thanked the Tourism Minister for his constant support to the Lebanese touristic sector.
D.K.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Economy - Sabounjian, Hout thrash-out serving flights to-fro Khartoum,Yerevan
 

Thu 5/01/2012 14:26

NNA - 5/01/2012 - Means of activating direct flights operated by Middle East Airlines to Sudan and Armenia, to facilitate the transportation of business men to-and-fro Khartoum and Yerevan, topped discussions on Thursday between the Minister of Industry and MEA General Director.

Now that cooperation agreements have been inked between Lebanon and both countries, an economic boom is expected to see light, once said agreements are activated.

"This requires of business men mutual, successive, and sometimes immediate trips. A direct route to those countries facilitates their work and promotes investments," Minister Vrej Sabounjian said on emerging.

In turn, MEA's Mohammad Hout disclosed that recent studies have confirmed the feasibility of serving direct flights to Sudan. "Sudan is a meeting point for other African capitals. All what's required is ensuring apt grounds to activate this route. This entails official negotiations by the Foreign Ministry and concerned countries."

As for the possibility of serving direct flights to Armenia, Hout made clear that this matter was in need of more discussions, pending an assessment on how economically-serious Lebanese-Armenian relations were.
L.Y.R./A.B.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Economy - Laborers syndicates' union: to adopt Nahas' wage adjustment project
 

Wed 4/01/2012 15:38

NNA - 4/1/2012 - The Laborers Syndicates' union responded to the decision of the state Shura Council regarding the wage adjustment request, and to the campaign launched by the economic boards, uttering their clinging to the adoption of the project submitted by Labor Minister Charbel Nahas.

The syndicates called upon the government to adopt Nahas' project as it adjusts wages, provides comprehensive health coverage, and offers job opportunities for youths. It also ensures old age pension and social security.

The union solicited all syndicates keen to preserve employees' rights to discuss the steps that ought to be followed so as to defend their cases and protect those with limited income.
D.K.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Economy - Nahhas pledges to crackdown on monopoly and price hike
 

Wed 4/01/2012 12:00

NNA - 4/1/2012 - Economy and Trade Minister Nicolas Nahhas urged the monitors of prices at the ministry to crackdown on violations and manipulation of commodity prices, stressing that all merchants and traders should abide by the law.

The minister disclosed that studies are underway which is aimed at equipping all the departments at the ministry of economy with the necessary tools to enable them to carry out their duties.

Nahhas called on the monitors to take all the necessary measures to ease the concerns of the consumers.

"The main purpose is the protection of people because their role is very crucial in the civil and consumer society."

The minister earlier met with all heads of departments in order to listen to the problems they encounter during the performance of their duties in different Lebanese regions.

O.H

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Economy - Abboud: Government's differences affected Shura council's stance
 

Wed 4/01/2012 11:40


NNA - 4/1/2012 - Tourism Minister Fadi Abboud Wednesday said the disagreement within the government itself affected the Shura council's position.

He told the Orient radio station that "the state advisory council had, since day one, deemed illegal the transportation and education allowances."

"Since the transportation allowances are illegal, we should then find another minimum wage formula that satisfies everyone," Abboud argued.

The Minister noted that the citizens are still waiting for a solution to this livelihood crisis.

As for the impact of the Syrian unrest on Lebanon's tourism and economy, Abboud said "we have lost a huge number of tourists, and unfortunately, no measures have yet been adopted to compensate this loss."

"Lebanon which has always been an example of instability in the region, became now the most secure country, a fact that makes us very proud," he concluded.
D.K.

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Economy - (Corrected) Aridi reviews developmental files with visitors
 

Tue 3/01/2012 16:04

NNA - 03/01/2012 - Public Works and Transportation Minister Ghazi Aridi followed up on Tuesday at his office developmental projects relevant to different regions across the country with his visitors. He stressed that his ministry worked for all the Lebanese, without exceptions.

Amongst the minister's visitors: a delegation of Qosaibi municipality headed by Amin Mansour; and others.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Economy - Aridi reviews developmental files with visitors
 

Tue 3/01/2012 14:43

NNA - 03/01/2011 - Public Works and Transportation Minister Ghazi Aridi followed up on Tuesday at his office developmental projects relevant to different regions across the country with his visitors. He stressed that his ministry worked for all the Lebanese, without exceptions.

Amongst the minister's visitors: a delegation of Qosaibi municipality headed by Amin Mansour; and others.
 

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Economy - Nahhas, Sader hold third meeting over wage plan
 

Tue 3/01/2012 14:07

NNA - 03/01/2012 - The wage increase package topped talks on Tuesday between Labour Minister, Charbel Nahhas, and Shura Council head, Shekri Sader, in a third meeting held between both men over the matter.

"Discussions are ongoing," Nahhas said on emerging, telling those expecting a decision on the wage plan on Tuesday "no one ever said that a decision by the Shura Council will be made today."

Moreover, Nahhas depicted relations with the Council as "normal and of consulting nature. "Our mutual goal is to reorganize general order," he added.
R.H.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Economy - Khreiss encourages expatriate investments in Lebanon

 

Mon 2/01/2012 13:37

NNA - 02/01/2012 MP Ali Khreiss emphasized Monday during inauguration of Sisaram Company in Tyre on the importance of enticing Lebanese expatriates to invest in their homeland.

Member of Liberation and Development Bloc represented House Speaker Nabih Berri during the event, which was also attended by Head of Tunisian Chamber of Industrialists, Adel Shaary.

"The expatriate constitutes an essential pillar in reviving the economy," said the MP.

Khreiss called upon concerned officials to encourage Lebanese immigrants to empower domestic economy, since this would provide more work opportunities for Lebanese youth.


R.Z.

NNA 2012 All rights reserved


Economy - Nicolas Nahhas: Labors to get salary increases
 

Fri 30/12/2011 10:24

NNA - 30/12/2011- Economy and Trade Minister Nicolas Nahhas told Voice of Lebanon "Voice of Freedom and Dignity" that the workers and employees will receive their share from salary increases after the concerned parties struck an agreement on this issue.

The minister was commenting on the wage increase decree.

"We should not anticipate things and it is better to await the last verdict of the Shura Council. Irrespective if the council approves or not the decree, the workers will get their share in the wage increase after an agreement was reached between the concerned parties," the minister said, expressing hope that the increment will become effective in the beginning of next year.

But Nahhas was not certain if the wage increase will be retroactive.

He also assured the Lebanese that the security situation in the country is under control, indicating that Interior Minister Marwan Charbel will announce new security measures in a press conference today.

Nahhas denied media reports about the possibility of bomb attacks on New Year eve in an attempt to disrupt the situation.

O.H

NNA 2011 All rights reserved










 

 


Economy - Safadi meets Sahnawi, Qalloush
 

Thu 29/12/2011 18:05

NNA - 29/12/2011 - Finance Minister Muhammad Safadi received on Thursday at his office Telecom Minister Nicholas Sahnawi and discussed with him customs and services items pertaining to the telecom sector.

Separately, Safadi received Beirut and North Mayor Nassif Qalloush, with talks featuring high upon administrative affairs relevant to the North and Beirut regions.

A.M.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved



 

Economy - Charbel contacts Berri to extend mechanic fees grace period
 

Wed 28/12/2011 22:07

NNA - 28/12/2011 - Interior and Municipalities Minister Marwan Charbel contacted by phone on Wednesday Speaker of the House Nabih Berri, imploring the latter to extend the set grace period on the %90 reduction on late mechanic dues, till February 2011.

In turn, Berri duly promised to put Charbel's request into practice the soonest possible.
R.H.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Politics - People with special needs pay holiday visit to Rahi
 

Wed 28/12/2011 22:57

NNA - 28/12/2011 - Marking the festive holiday season, Maronite Patriarch Mar Bechara Boutros Rahi received on Wednesday 550 people with special needs, representing different social institutions that support them.

The meeting which took place in Bkerke, witnessed the attendance of Cardinal Nasrallah Sfeir, the Apostolic Nuncio in Lebanon Gabriel Caccia, bishops committee members, civil society figures, and families of people with special needs.

Patriarch Rahi welcomed the audience and thanked all those who contributed to the success of this meeting which in his words, "embodies the real meaning of Christmas."
 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Economy - (CORRECTED)Aridi upbeat about MEA-Pilots' syndicate relation
 

Fri 23/12/2011 17:49

NNA - 23/12/2011 - Public Works and Transportation Minister Ghazi Aridi expressed on Friday willingness to extend his hand to all those who wish to protect Middle East Airlines' (MEA) best interest.

In a visit to MEA headquarters at Rafik Hariri International Airport, Aridi held a meeting with MEA Administrative Council Head Mr. Mohammad Hout, Civil Aviation General Director Daniel Hibi, and Pilot's Syndicate Head Mr. Fadi Khalil.

The three-hour meeting reportedly touched on the prevailing status quo between the MEA Administrative Council and the Pilots' Syndicate, in light of last November's standoff between both sides.

Pilots working for Lebanon's Middle East Airlines voted to hold a 48-hour strike November in protest against the dismissal of a colleague suffering from cancer, after having worked for MEA for 38 years. The MEA's decision fueled a spar with the syndicate, a thing which all concerned officials have endeavored to iron-out.

After offering his heartfelt condolences with the loss of Pilot Samir Antonius, Aridi sounded upbeat about the way things winded up between MEA and the pilots' syndicate. Albeit, Aridi did not forget to thank politicians for their efforts to resolve the clash which had taken place between both sides. "I would like to thank all the political leaderships that have revealed sincere concern over MEA's best interest, especially Deputy General Michel Aoun," Aridi said.

Describing talks between both sides as honest and serious, Aridi added that he had touched earnest concern by both sides to preserve a united and active family, "all for MEA's best future."
R.H.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Economy - Aridi upbeat about MEA-Pilot's syndicate relation
 

Fri 23/12/2011 17:43

NNA - 23/12/2011 - Public Works and Transportation Minister Ghazi Aridi expressed on Friday willingness to extend his hand to all those who wish to protect Middle East Airlines' (MEA) best interest.

In a visit to MEA headquarters at Rafik Hariri International Airport, Aridi held a meeting with MEA Administrative Council Head Mr. Mohammad Hout, Civil Aviation General Director Daniel Hibi, and Pilot's Syndicate Head Mr. Fadi Khalil.

The three-hour meeting reportedly touched on the prevailing status quo between the MEA Administrative Council and the Pilot's Syndicate, in light last November's standoff between both sides.

Pilots working for Lebanon's Middle East Airlines voted to hold a 48-hour strike November in protest against the dismissal of a colleague suffering from cancer, after having worked for MEA for 38 years. The MEA's decision fueled a spar with the syndicate, a thing which all concerned officials have endeavored to iron-out.

After offering his heartfelt condolences with the loss of Pilot Samir Antonius, Aridi sounded upbeat about the way things winded up between MEA and the pilot's syndicate. Albeit, Aridi did not forget to thank politicians for their efforts to resolve the clash which had taken place between both sides. "I would like to thank all the political leaderships that have revealed sincere concern over MEA's best interest, especially Deputy General Michel Aoun," Aridi said.

Describing talks between both sides as honest and serious, Aridi added that he had touched earnest concern by both sides to preserve a united and active family, "all for MEA's best future."
R.H.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Economy - Cabinet decision on wage plan draws Economic Committees' ire
 

Thu 22/12/2011 19:28

NNA - 22/12/2011 - The Economic Committees on Thursday held an emergency meeting under the chairmanship of former Minister Adnan Qassar over a fresh cabinet decision to adjust wages and the likely upshot on productive sectors, especially amid current recession due to the domestic political crisis and neighboring unrest.

Attendees agreed upon the following:

-The cabinet decision on increasing salaries is a fatal blow to the economic institutions and to the bases of stability provided by the private sector, besides legal and constitutional infringements thereof;

-The cabinet decision is the result of a typical coup against the consensual agreement signed in Baabda and which was reached for the first time in the modern history of economy;

-Conferees demand the government to go back on this erroneous decision and hope the State Shura Council would annul it;

-Conferees deem the decision as political par excellence, lacking any economic and social considerations;

-The decision embodies a huge economic strike which the Lebanese productive sectors will not be able to bear; hence they cannot implement it because its repercussions will harm employers and employees;

-The Economic Committees cleave to the consensual agreement signed between employers and employees;

-The Economic Committees call syndicates, parliamentary blocs, political parties, and civil society organizations to join them in their move to pressure the government to go back on its decision;

-The Economic Committees decide to reject the decision and maintain their meetings open.



R.A.H.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Economy - Bassil launches Metering Net renewable energy project
 

Thu 22/12/2011 19:05

NNA - 22/12/2011 - Minister of Energy and Water Resources, Gebran Bassil, on Thursday launched the Metering Net project, from the first house functioning on renewable energy.

This project allows the Lebanese producing their own electricity to be linked to EDL networks.

Bassil explained that this project annuls electricity bill and reduces by 75% monthly subscription fees.


R.A.H.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Economy - UK ambassador visits Solidere
 

Thu 22/12/2011 15:33

NNA - 22/12/2011 - As part of his planned visiting program, British Ambassador to Lebanon Tom Fletcher visited Solidere's offices and met with Angus Gavin, Urban Development Division Director, accompanied by Paul Khawaja, Head of the UK Trade & Investment in Beirut.
The visit aimed at enhancing existing relationship with Solidere and also having a look at the master plan of the Beirut Central District and the new Waterfront District where many British Architects are involved in the design of a number of prestigious projects.
Ambassador Fletcher was the first official visitor to the Phoenico-Persian site museum which is in the process to bring it alive as a museum open to the public. He expressed a great interest in the Heritage Trail and the Garden of Forgiveness which is located in the heart of the city centre.
Fletcher expressed his admiration after the visit saying: "It was superb to tour the new Beirut downtown development, and to see the combination of innovative design with protection of Lebanon's history. I am delighted that UK architects and businesses are playing their part in laying the foundations for Beirut's future as one of the world's most stunning capitals."

A.B.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Economy - GLC cancels syndical conference
 

Thu 22/12/2011 15:20

NNA - 22/12/2011 - A fresh cabinet decision to agreeably adjust wages prompted the General Labor Confederation (GLC) on Thursday to cancel its syndical conference scheduled for tomorrow.

The GLC also called its executive council to meet to discuss the November 27 strike.

The cabinet yesterday endorsed a salary package put forth earlier this month by Labor Minister, Charbel Nahhas, who failed to glean enough support, as ministers voted for PM Mikati's alternative.

GLC immediately rejected the deal and threatened to stage general strike on November 27.



R.A.H.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Economy - Bassil, Norway's PGS ink agreement
 

Wed 21/12/2011 20:27

NNA - 21/12/2011 - Water and Energy Minister Gebran Bassil inked on Wednesday an agreement with a Norwegian Company PGS for seismic surveys in the Lebanese exclusive economic waters.

The agreement, signed in presence of Petroleum Utilities General Director, Sarkis Hlies, and PGS Representative in Lebanon Fawaz Mourad, aims at increasing information and analysis made on petroleum reservoirs by the adoption of latest technologies in this area.

On another level, Bassil met on Wednesday with a delegation representing Lebanese petroleum companies headed by Maroun Chammas. Talks between both sides featured high on the increment value added tax (VAT) on red and green diesel.
R.H.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Economy - Aridi reviews developmental affairs with visitors
 

Wed 21/12/2011 16:13

NNA - 21/12/2011 - Public Works and Transportation Minister Ghazi Aridi reviewed at his office with his visitors developmental projects relevant to Hasbaya Marjeyoun and other regions.

Among his visitors: Deputy Qassem Hashem; Deputy Walid Sukkarieh; Deputy Amine Wehbe; and others.

Separately, Aridi called upon the government to fairly deal with employees of limited monthly income.

A.M./P.BC.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Economy - Nahhas: Cabinet will endorse my salary proposal
 

Wed 21/12/2011 10:56

NNA - 21/12/2011 - Labor Minister Charbel Nahhas told Voice of Lebanon that the Cabinet will endorse today (Wednesday) his wage increase proposal and this will be a gift to the Lebanese during the holiday season.

He stressed that the minimum wage will be LL861,000.

"I expect the proposal to be well received by the ministers during the cabinet session today and in accordance with the law. We are not ready to break the law as some did for the past 15 years," Nahhas said.

He indicated that the increase include 17 percent rise on the first category but refused any increase on education and transportation allowances.

Asked about behind the curtains talks on the salary hike, the minister responded:"Any person can negotiate with anyone he wants. But as far the salaries are concerned the state moves according to a certain mechanism and this mechanism passes through the price index committee."

He confirmed full cooperation with the allies.

"I hope that the cabinet will endorse my plan in five minutes."

O.H

NNA 2011 All rights reserved














 

Economy - Labor Minister proposes minimum wage of LL861,000
 

Wed 21/12/2011 10:03

NNA - 21/12/2011- Labor Minister Information Bureau issued a statement today (Wednesday) in which it explained that the minimum wage mentioned in a newspaper referring that to the Minister is totally wrong, pointing out that the Minister suggests minimum wage of LL 861,000.

The statement also read that the draft which Labor Minister Charbel Nahas presented is to be discussed today (Wednesday) in the cabinet's session.

L.Y.R/N.AF

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Economy - Generator tariff under ministerial scrutiny
 

Tue 20/12/2011 20:15

NNA - 20/12/2011 Ministers Bassil, Charbel and Nahhas held a joint press conference Tuesday announcing new measures to control electric generator fees.

A recent decision by cabinet delegated ministries of Water and Energy, Interior and Municipalities, and Economy to take appropriate steps to limit, monitor and control monthly tariffs of electricity generator subscriptions. Most Lebanese citizens have been forced into subscribing to a generator due to the lack of appropriate electricity feed by the state.

"It is imperative we organize arbitrary pricing of generators," said Energy Minister Gibran Bassil who added that the last Wednesday of each month the cabinet would issue tariff guidelines to be respected by generator-owners.

Interior Minister Marwan Charbel revealed that his ministry planned to send circulars to all municipalities demanding they follow rules and install meters to generators. In case of any violation, Charbel promised immediate repercussions.

In his turn, Economy Minister Nicholas Nahhas reminded Lebanese of the hotline 1739 which they could contact to protect their rights as consumers.

R.Z.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Economy - Eichhorst, Bachir tackle humaitarian needs of displaced Syrians
 

Tue 20/12/2011 18:46

NNA - 20/12/2011 In a press release by European Union Commission, it said "Ambassador Angelina Eichhorst, Head of the Delegation of the European Union to Lebanon, met Tuesday with General Ibrahim Bachir, the Secretary General of the High Relief Commission (HRC). Eichhorst congratulated General Bachir for his recent nomination and for the work done by the HRC in providing relief to the Syrian displaced in the North of Lebanon."
Release added "The discussion focused on the measures being jointly undertaken by the HRC and United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) to address the humanitarian needs of people crossing from Syria into Northern Lebanon and on the necessity for adequate contingency planning. Lebanon should take all necessary steps to ensure the safety and protection of Lebanese citizens, foreigners and displaced in Lebanon."
Release added "On a broader level, Eichhorst also highlighted the importance of finalising the Memorandum of Understanding between the Lebanese authorities and UNHCR to better guarantee the rights of refugees and asylum seekers in Lebanon. This would also allow for stronger EU support to Lebanon in this regard."
"Eichhorst and General Bachir discussed the need for Lebanon to step up the institutionalisation of an emergency response structure to deal with natural and man-made disasters. Mrs. Eichhorst confirmed the EU's willingness to further support Lebanon on crisis prevention, preparedness and response, following the positive experience of the National Response Plan for CBRN-related events (i.e. of chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear origin), developed under a EU-funded project by an inter-institutional Committee chaired by the Lebanese Armed Forces," release concluded.
 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Economy - Sabonjian receives Connelly, others
 

Tue 20/12/2011 16:48


NNA - 20/12/2011 - Industry Minister Vreij Sabonjian met on Tuesday at his office with the U.S. Ambassador to Lebanon Maura Connelly and discussed with her enhancing bilateral ties on the economic and industrial levels.

Connelly highlighted Congress's recent passage of legislation reauthorizing the generalized system of preferences, which would allow for the duty-free import into the United States of most Lebanese goods until 2013, thereby providing a boost to the Lebanese industrial sector.
A.M>

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Economy - N. Nahhas receives delegation of jewelers syndicate
 

Tue 20/12/2011 15:37

NNA - 20/12/2011 - Economy and Trade Minister Nicholas Nahhas received at his office a delegation of jewelers syndicate in Lebanon, headed by Naim Rizk, with talks featuring high on the problems facing jewelry traders.
A.M.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Economy - Nahas at workshop for an immunized workforce
 

Sat 17/12/2011 17:34

NNA - 17/12/2011 - Minister of Labor, Charbel Nahas, inaugurated a workshop over retirement pensions and social protection for senior employees in presence of Syndicate leaders, the Social Security Fund, and NGO representatives.

He noted that the number of wage earners is steadily declining and that taking preventive measures is far more important than carrying out certain improvements.

Taking the word, Minister Nahas listed difficulties bearing on the implementation of old-age pensions and social protection mechanisms. He said these could be carried out within the context of developing the Lebanese state itself.

He added that the question of developing old-age pensions for the retired depends largely on the development of social security. The Minister spoke about law project at the parliament to deal with this matter between the years 1997 till 2011.

Unfortunately, these bills were not finalized by the parliament, Minister Nahas said. It all stopped at a proposal inspired by the World Bank with all discussions coming to a halt at this point. For him, dealing quickly with the matters could be secured through funding mechanisms which are virtually non-existent.

Nahas acknowledged the existence of conflicting views over this matter and that outside funding remains essential. He mentioned a political aspect to the problem of retirement funding namely that of people's total mistrust of the state.

The Minister cited the example of the Bismarckian ideal of social security which he said would be fairly applicable to Lebanon. Nahas also said General Shehab's experiment in the 1960s also provided a good example.

He called for a regular assessment of the Price Index in order to determine the appropriate lower wages. Nahas said the Lebanese wages witnessed no increase as per price hikes equivalent to 80% hyper inflation.

He proposed servicing of the annual debt in installments and restructuring of existing Syndicates based on the private appropriation of the means of production. Unfortunately the number of workers in various sectors is dwindling and Syndicates and Unions must work for their protection.

He favored preventive measures rather than improving all-out performance by introducing special mechanisms for work preview through the Supreme Shoura (Consultative) Council.

G.G./P.BC.

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Economy - Union of Arab Bankers holds dinner function
 

Sat 17/12/2011 13:14

NNA - 17/12/2011 Speaking at the behest of Lebanese president Michel Sleiman at the wrapping up of a Union of Arab Bankers' dinner function at the Beirut Phoenicia Hotel, Shadi Karam commended the Arab Bankers' Association for its sponsorship and funding of various organs of the Lebanese state.

Also taking the word, Wisam Fattouh of the International Bankers' Union positively assessed the Beirut/Phoenicia conference on inter-Arab banking saying meeting undoubtedly contributed to unifying Arab Bankers' ranks.

The financial and economic conference which opened at the Phoenicia Hotel on November 22 has been largely dedicated to discussing the future of Arab economies against the backdrop and challenges posed by the Arab Spring.
G.G.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Economy - Syndicate Coordination Committee insists on wage hike
 

Fri 16/12/2011 20:51


NNA - 16/12/2011 The Syndicate Coordination Committee (SCC) held an exceptional meeting Friday to review Shura Council's decisions concerning wage hike plan, and concluded the urgent need to send the draft decree back to cabinet for amendments.

Last week, the cabinet approved MP Najib Mikati's wage proposal to increase the minimum wage by LL100, 000 to LL600, 000; salaries under LL1 million by 30% up to a LL200, 000 increase; and salaries above LL1 million by a 20% increase up to LL275, 000.The Shura Council approved today the cabinet's decision while proposing modifications to it without interfering with the amount of increase on brackets.

"Decision of the Shura Council, in its legal side, confirms the rightful demands of the SCC cited in the memo forwarded to the Prime Minister asking to revise the demeaning wage correction plan," said a statement by the SCC, adding that the proposed wage hike was an insult to all workers and employees.

They warned against any delays in wage corrections.

R.Z.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Economy - Nahhas for including State Shoura Council opinion on wages adjustment on Cabinet agenda
 

Fri 16/12/2011 17:38

NNA - 16/12/2011 Labor Minister Charbel Nahhas addressed an urgent memo to the Ministerial Council, requesting it to include State Shoura Council opinion on wages' adjustment project decree on the agenda of upcoming Cabinet session.
At the request of Minister Nahhas, State Shoura Council put forward on Thursday its opinion on salaries' scale decree, issued by the Cabinet on 7/12/2011, suggesting certain amendments on the said decree prior to approval.
State Shoura Council recommended that the Ministerial Council's decision be based on Labor Minister's proposal in line with article 66 of the Constitution, and on the outcome of price index committee works.
Nahhas called on the Ministerial Council to accord priority to this issue, by introducing the requisite amendments on the project decree, to be issued prior to the end of the current year.
---------------L.Y

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Economy - Bassil: Electricity problem not merely political
 

Fri 16/12/2011 17:19

NNA - 16/12/2011 - Water and Energy Minister Gebran Bassil said on Friday that working out Lebanon's electricity problems was not merely political. He said it entails efforts by the people of knowledge and education to be aptly resolved.

Speaking at the opening session of the 8th conference organized by "Issam Fares Studies Institute" titled "Sustained electricity for all of Lebanon" Bassil asserted that Lebanon's electricity issues went far beyond geo-political aspects, linking them to internal issues.

"Courage is needed to discuss electricity problems in Lebanon," he told a crowd of attending officials and dignitaries. He promised that the radical solution he provided would positively affect Lebanon's social and economic scenes.
Moreover, Bassil listed three basic matters directly related to the electricity file: economy, social security, and constitutional matters.
 

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Economy - Sahnawi announces plan for cellular quality amelioration
 

Thu 15/12/2011 19:48

NNA - 15/12/2011 - Telecoms Minister Nicholas Sahnawi announced on Thursday the national plan for ameliorating the quality of cellular services.

The minister's announcement came on Thursday during a press conference he held at his office.

Sahnawi said the Bloc of Reform and Change was working in accordance with a clear pattern aiming to repair public institutions, revitalize the telecoms sector and circulate the services on all Lebanese with the most probable costs.
A.M>

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Economy - Aridi follows up on array of diplomatic, economic affairs
 

Thu 15/12/2011 15:4

NNA - 15/12/2011 - Minister of Public Works and Transportation, Ghazi Aridi, on Thursday met with Tunisian ambassador to Lebanon, Mohammad Fawzi Ballout, over the means to bolster bilateral ties on the level on infrastructure.

Talks also featured high on the current headway of the general situation in Tunisia after the uprising.

Speaking to reporters following the meeting, the ambassador noted that Lebanon and Tunisia have a lot in common as to the electoral democratic experience.
"The elections were a decisive point which brought about a new political scene towards freedom and democracy in Tunisia," he said.

The Minister later met with a delegation of Lebanese Pilots Association, headed by Fadi Khalil, over the condition of pilots and the joint work between the Association and the Middle East Airlines Company.

A delegation of Rabieh municipality had also been to the Public Works and Transportation Ministry today for a meeting with Aridi over a spectrum of developmental affairs.



R.A.H.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Economy - Laborers Syndicates Union, Ghosn discuss laborers issues
 

Wed 14/12/2011 18:44

NNA - 14/12/2011 - The executive council of the Laborers Syndicates Union held an urgent meeting on Wednesday with the head of the General Labor Confederation Ghassan Ghosn.

Talks reportedly touched on social and economic matters as well as the difficulties facing laborers, especially amidst the unstable political condition in the region.

Talks also focused on the recent governmental decisions pertaining to the wages rise issue. The Confederation called for going on with the strike on the 27th of this month.
A.M.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Economy - Abboud tackles with his Cypriot counterpart means to reactivate touristic ties
 

Tue 13/12/2011 15:36

NNA - 13/12/2011 - Tourism Minister Fadi Abboud tackled Tuesday with the Cypriot Minister for Touristic Development and the Cypriot Ambassador to Lebanon, Homer Mavrommatis, means to bring into effect the tourism agreement signed in 1995 between the two countries.

Both sides confirmed as well the importance of reinforcing touristic bilateral ties by finding new opportunities for further investment and promotion.
D.K.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Economy - Sabounjian highlights scientific researches' importance
 

Tue 13/12/2011 13:15

NNA - 13/12/2011 - Industry Minister Vreij Sabounjian confirmed Tuesday that scientific research has direct impact on the industrial products' quality, this is why industrial countries allocate millions of dollars for supporting technologic researches and studies, leading to an industrial qualitative leap at the international level.

Sabounjian made these remarks during the ceremony held at Fran�ois Bassil auditorium to launch the partnership agreement between the center for analysis and research at the Faculty of Science within the Saint Joseph University (USJ) and Azzi Food Enterprise which focused on technological and scientific research as well as on industrial affairs.

The ceremony was patronized by Minister Sabounjian who encouraged universities, research centers and industrial institutions to boost cooperation among them based on long term plans and futuristic developmental projects.

"The Ministry of Industry is well aware of this issue's importance therefore it has suggested the reduction of taxes and fees on all projects of research and development," added the Minister.
D.K.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Economy - Lebanese-European partnership committee meets
 

Tue 13/12/2011 12:49

NNA- 13/12/2011- The Lebanese-European partnership committee held today (Tuesday) before noon a meeting to discuss issues concerning cooperation between Lebanon and the European Union in political dialogue.

Economy and Trade Minister Nicolas Nahhas, Managing Director for the Middle East and the Southern neighborhood at the European External Action Service, Hugues Mingarelli, the European Union Ambassadress to Lebanon, Angelina Ekhorest, a number of the European Group Ambassadors and the sub-commissions' Lebanese heads attended the meeting.

According to the agenda statement and after discussing "issues of cooperation between Lebanon and the European Union in political dialogue, Minister Nahas discussed the current cabinet's political and reform program and steps taken in this field."

Then, Foreign Affairs Secretary General Wafic Rhaimy tackled developments regarding the implementation of U.N. resolution 1701 and Lebanon's rights in oil exploration and the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL).

In turn, the European team discussed the crisis that the euro zone is confronting, stressing on the ongoing consultations and communications among the leaders of the region to discuss that issue.

The European team also confirmed its "support to the Lebanese cabinet and extended a hand to help it in implementing its reform program.

Minister Nahas stressed on "the importance of historical relations with the European Union on all political, economic , social, cultural and developmental sectors."

He called on Lebanon to benefit from this partnership to strengthen the country's development.

L.Y.R/N.AF
 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Economy - Charbel Nahhas: Cabinet did not discuss my wage proposal
 

Tue 13/12/2011 12:35

NNA - 13/12/2011 - Labor Minister Charbel Nahhas denied in a statement issued on Tuesday that the Cabinet discussed his wage increase proposal but noticed that the Prime Minister talked verbally about his counter proposal to amend the salaries of the public and private sector employees.

"There was no discussion by the Cabinet on my proposal but instead the minister's listened to the verbal presentation made by Prime Minister Najib Mikati about salary amendments. Mikati admitted that he discussed his proposal with the private sector and the General Labor Confederation," Nahhas said.

The minister said he was taken by surprise when Mikati showed tables and graphics which detail the plan.

Nahhas expressed his displeasure by the manner in which Mikati ignored the Labor Ministry and the Price Index Committee.

"Some news media are up till now reporting that Mikati is holding talks with the GLC and the Private sector to persuade them to endorse his salary plan."

Nahhas described Mikati's proposal as illegal because the prime minister's plan did not take into account the high cost of living with the salaries.

O.H

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Economy - Laborers to take to streets on Dec.27
 

Mon 12/12/2011 16:31

NNA - 12/12/2011 - The General Labor Confederation on Monday decided to rally and stage nationwide strike on forthcoming December 27, in a backlash at a disagreeable Cabinet decision on wages adjustment.

The Cabinet Okayed a long-awaited wage increase decree Wednesday, rising minimum wage by LL100 000 to LL600 000, salaries under LL1 million by a 20% increase, and those over LL1 million by 30%.
GLC immediately rejected the deal and threatened to stage general strike.

The GLC's executive body today met over the aforementioned decree, put forth upon Prime Minister Najib Mikati's proposition, an alternative to Labor Minister Charbel Nahhas's salary package, which fell short of ministers' support during last week's cabinet session.

The body scheduled an all-embracing syndical conference for December 23, just days before the strike is brought into effect.

A mid-October wage increase decree, later rejected by Shura State Council over illegality, averted what may have been the country's biggest labor strike.




R.A.H.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Economy - BIA head urges passengers to arrive 3 hours earlier
 

Mon 12/12/2011 12:21

NNA - 12/12/2011 Beirut International Airport President Daniel Haibi Monday urged travelers to arrive at the Airport 3 hours earlier than due travelling time.

In a circular issued today addressing all airline companies and travel agencies operating at the BIA, Haibi said this move, which will become enforced as of 24/12/2011 until 10/1/2012, ought to facilitate passengers' leaving procedures.

"This should also help us avoid any airplanes' departure delay," he said.


L.W.
 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Economy - Economy minister meets Hugo
 

Mon 12/12/2011 11:48

NNA - 12/12/2011 - Trade Minister Nicolas Nahhas met on Monday morning at the ministry with EU commissioned member for Middle Eastern Foreign Affairs Hugo Mingarelli accompanied by EU Ambassador to Lebanon Angelina Eichhorst and discussed joint issues that will pave the way for preparations of European- Lebanese Committee meeting which will be held on 13th of this month at the Grand Serail.

A.A.M

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Economy - Meqati meets with Labor Syndicate Coordinating Body
 

Sun 11/12/2011 21:37

NNA - 11/12/2011 - Members of the "Labor Syndicate Coordinating Body" paid a visit Sunday to Prime Minister, Najib Meqati, at the Grand Serail. The meeting was a chance to touch on the decision to improve salaries adopted by the Council of Ministers during last Thursday's session.
The Syndicate Body handed PM Meqati a memorandum explaining its rejection of the aforementioned cabinet decision, considering it as "insulting and offensive!" The memorandum demanded the immediate amendment of the decision due to the unfairness it would cause to employees; noting that the second decision to rectify salaries gave employees even less than the first decision adopted by the cabinet in this respect.
Following their meeting with Premier Meqati, the Syndicate delegation members relayed his openness and readiness for dialogue and searching for suitable solutions to their demands.
The Coordinating Body also reiterated the decision to call for a strike and demonstration upcoming Thursday, December 15, 2011, to voice rejection towards said unjust decision.
R.Sh.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Economy - Demonstrators arrested near Central Bank
 

Sat 10/12/2011 16:28

NNA - 10/12/2011 - A number of arrests were made when protesters against soaring living conditions took to the street in main Hamra thoroughfare artery, facing the Central Bank building. Several youths brandishing communist flags and shouting anti-capitalist slogans were rounded up and interrogated for nearly half an hour before being released.

Among other things, they claimed full medical coverage and hospitalization for all. They also wanted national currency protection with some of them trying to stop the traffic.

G.G./P.BC.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Economy - Hajj Hasan signing working paper to develop south
 

Sat 10/12/2011 14:30

NNA - 10/12/2011 - Minister of Agriculture Hussein Hajj Hasan signed a working paper for the development of the agricultural sector in south Lebanon.

The protocol signed between the Minister and Saida Chamber of Commerce and Industry lays ground for a systematic economic methodology for promoting development in the south, the Minister told interlocutors today.

Senior officials in the agriculture department at the Chamber of Commerce, Hasan Nsouli and Hadi Makki, put their initials to the working paper protocol.

The document signed today stipulates the setting up of a series of laboratories as the mainstay for securing a safe and sound nutritional output. It also insures good quality products.

In his address the Minister stressed on making no distinction between one region and the other in the south. Politics would thus be divorced from strictly technical socio-economic development.
G.G./P.BC.
 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Economy - Rally in front of Central Bank protests faltering economy
 

Sat 10/12/2011 13:25

NNA - 101/12/2011 A group of youth and trade union bodies gathered Saturday in front of Central Bank of Lebanon in Beirut, amid tight security measures, to protest current economic crisis, NNA correspondent reported.

Protestors called for full coverage of health insurance, social security and creating job opportunities for Lebanese youth.

R.Z.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Economy - EDF Trading extends its CFL project to Lebanon
 

Sat 10/12/2011 13:21

NNA - 10/12/2011 EDF Trading signed an Emissions Reduction Purchase Agreement (ERPA) with the Lebanese Ministry of Energy and Water, Tripoli and Zahrani Oil Installations, for the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) of its successful compact fluorescent lamps (CFL) initiative, a statement by the Ministry said Saturday.

EDF Trading will purchase Certified Emission Reductions (CERs), a type of emissions unit, generated from the country-wide lamp swapping campaign.
EDF Trading is a leader in the international wholesale energy markets. Its own portfolio of assets, combined with EDF Group businesses, give it the ability to source, supply, transport, store, blend and convert physical commodities across the wholesale energy markets. EDF Trading's headquarters are based in London

Up to six small-scale CDM projects will be developed covering Electricit� du Liban (EdL) consumers throughout Lebanon.

Three million will be distributed across the country to one million residential households to replace incandescent lamps.

Distribution of the lamps was launched at the 2010 Beirut Energy Forum and to date two-thirds of the CFLs have been distributed.

The projects are expected to generate around 450,000 CERs throughout the crediting period.

This is the largest CDM initiative launched in Lebanon.

"This is a great initiative for Lebanon and we're delighted to be working alongside the Lebanese Ministry on this project", said John Rittenhouse, Chief Executive of EDF Trading.

"The Ministry of Energy and Water is glad to see that Lebanon could finally benefit from CDM through the partnership with EDF Trading. This success is one step in a long journey towards energy efficiency and renewable energy", said Pierre El Khoury, Manager of the Lebanese Centre for Energy Conservation (LCEC).
 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Economy - GLC braces for nationwide strike
 

Fri 9/12/2011 17:14

NNA - 9/12/2011 - A fresh cabinet decision to raise wages prompted the General Labor Confederation to schedule a meeting next Monday to set a date for a general strike nationwide.

"The GLC decided to call the confederation's executive body to meet at 11 am Monday to study the recommendation of fixing the date and mechanism of a nationwide strike," GLC head, Ghassan Ghosn, told a news conference Friday.

The cabinet Okayed a long-awaited wage increase decree Wednesday, rising minimum wage by LL100 000 to LL600 000, salaries under LL1 million by a 20% increase.
GLC immediately rejected the deal and threatened to stage general strike.

Ghosn reckoned the government "ridiculed" people, especially that the transportation allowance remained unchanged by ministers.

"The call for strike aims to bring forth a solution agreeable to Lebanon's workers away from compromise," Ghosn added.

A mid-October wage increase decree, later rejected by Shura State Council over illegality, averted what may have been the country's biggest labor strike.



R.A.H.

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Economy - Aridi's activities, meetings today
 

Fri 9/12/2011 15:27

NNA - 9/12/2011 - Minister of Public Works and Transportation, Ghazi Aridi, on Friday met with the Director General of Civil Aviation, Daniel Haibi, over an array of affairs relevant to employees, as well as over the measures adopted in preparation for the festive season.

The Minister later met with Tripoli Seaport chairman, George Fadlallah, over the port's development and enlargement-related works.

He also received a delegation of Alma Zghorta municipality, headed by Elie Obeid. Talks reportedly touched on development related-affairs.


R.A.H.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Economy - Sehnaoui announces mechanism for compensating cellular subscribers
 

Thu 8/12/2011 18:03


NNA - 8/12/2011 Telecommunication Minister Nicholas Sehnaoui announced a mechanism for compensating subscribers who suffered some slips on their cell phone calls during last month.
Sehanoui held a press conference Thursday at his ministerial office, where he dwelt on faults witnessed on phone calls during November and meetings undertaken with cell companies to find solutions to these questions.
"We all noticed flaws on cell phone calls during the past month [November]... that reflected negatively on services' quality", Sehnaoui said, citing the examples of calls Drop, calls Silent and calls Cross.
Sehanoui disclosed that he held intensive meetings with cell phone companies to detect and identify problems, requesting these companies to put a program of compensations to subscribers of prepaid and post paid cards for the month of November.
---------------L.Y

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Economy - Bassil signs agreement on maritime topography
 

Wed 7/12/2011 18:06


NNA - 7/12/2011 - Minister of Energy and Water Resources, Gebran Bassil, on Wednesday said gas and fuel were a national resource belonging to all the Lebanese, following his signature of an agreement on maritime topography with Beicip-Franlab French Company, which provides global solutions on the level of gas and oil exploration and production.

He said the results of primary analyses were very encouraging as to offshore gas resources and prone to paving the way for further exploration works. He hence called the government to approve related decrees.

The Minister also broached the issue of refineries, highlighting the importance of Lebanon's geographical location and reminding of the existence of necessary infrastructures.



R.A.H.

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Economy - GLC threatens of strike if salaries increase inadequate
 

Wed 7/12/2011 17:04


NNA - 7/12/2011 - The General Labor Confederation (GLC) on Wednesday renewed threats of strike, if salaries increase and wages adjustment, expected to top today's cabinet session's agenda, did not meet workers claims.

A GLC delegation, headed by Ghassan Ghosn, today visited Minister of Social Affairs, Wael Abu Faour, and maintained that salaries issue was deemed primordial and that an adjustment was sought rather than an increase, in order to solve problems stemming from prices hike, decrease of the purchasing power, and salaries' drop.

Speaking to journalists following the meeting, Ghosn said salaries should be increased by 40% for the first 500 000 to 1000000 LL wages' section, and by 30% for salaries over one million LBP.

He avowed that any unconvincing adjustment would be spurned and faced with strike.



R.A.H.

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Economy - Bassil: Enforced shut down of Zahrani plant catastrophe
 

Mon 5/12/2011 14:55

NNA - 5/12/2011 Water and Energy Minister Gibran Bassil said Monday that the compulsory shutdown of the Zahrani plant is a national disaster.

It is a destruction of the state and a sabotage of its facilities as it represents an aggression against the Lebanese people especially Southerners, Bassil said during a press conference.

"What happened is not of a political aspect and I am not here to utter political speeches but I wish to elaborate on facts unrelated to any sectarian dimensions, but strictly linked to the electricity problem in Lebanon," he said.

The Zahrani power plant, shut down Friday afternoon by employees, leaving much of the country in the dark for hours, remained closed Saturday.
The shutdown was reportedly in protest at a decision by Electricite du Liban to replace a 40 MVA transformer with a much smaller unit.
Electricite du Liban said the protest came after employees transported a major MVA power transformer in the Zahrani power plant from Tyre to Sidon, adding that the latter city had needed the adapter.
EDL employees shut down the power plant completely after they had allegedly received threats from residents and municipalities regarding the removal of the transformer
The Zahrani plant produces around 450 megawatts per day, and accounts for around 35 percent of Lebanon's daily electricity supply, making it the second-largest power plant in the country after Zouk Mikhael, just north of Beirut. The plant supplies electricity to Beirut and some areas in the south and Mount Lebanon.

Bassil said the solution lies in handling the sector's problems away from all political quarrels and hindrances.

"The project of 700 MW could have solved the problem if it weren't introduced in hundreds of mazes, similarly to the project of electricity vessels' location, which should have been executed since September and of which delay causes are very well known "said Bassil.

Bassil urged EDL to follow up on the issue with the employees and the Malaysian YTL company, in charge of the power plant.

He has also called on security forces to answer EDL's cries noting that silence over a crime is a crime per se.

L.W.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Economy - Lebanon at UNIDO Conference
 

Sun 4/12/2011 15:44

N.N.A. Dec. 4, 2011 Lebanon partook in the Vienna Conference for the industrialization and development of the Middle Eastern region. Highlighting conference agenda has been sustained and comprehensive industrial regional development with European, American and Arab delegates' partaking.
Lebanese ambassador to Vienna Isiah Khouri who headed his country's delegation urged UNIDO members to give thoughtful consideration to opportunities and challenges offering themselves within the course of industrial development. He urged UNIDO adoption of newly-arising Arab youth who exhibited ample creativity and inventiveness.
Head of the Lebanese-Begian Business Board Mouhannad As'ad, spoke in the same vein about Arab youths' paramount socio-economic development role.
G.G.
 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Economy - Zahrani Municipalities hope for end to strike
 

Sun 4/12/2011 14:11

NNA - 04/12/2011 Zahrani municipalities hoped Sunday for a quick end to the 2-day workers' strike at the local relay station.

Having deliberated at Nabih Berri's Msayleh home today, dignitaries and heads of local municipal councils urged striking workers at the Zahrani power plant to get immediately back into normal business as usual.

While acknowledging long-standing workers' demands constantly falling on deaf Electricity Company ears, Zahrani municipal heads deplored the dismantling of hardware at the expense of local power-generating capacity and commended workers' sense of sacrifice and heroism in 2006.

They hoped for a quick resumption of power supply to all areas of Lebanon following reassurances by the Electricity Company to meet all of workers' demands within 24 hours.

G.G.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Economy - Flight Captains' Syndicate ends its strike
 

Sat 3/12/2011 22:52

NNA - 3/12/2011 - Flight Captains' Syndicate declared the end of its strike in a press conference held Saturday evening at Beirut International Airport.
Following the press conference, Middle East Airlines announced in a statement Saturday evening the return of its normal flights as of Sunday afternoon, December 4, 2011, in accordance with their previous schedule. MEA also expressed its regret for the inconvenience caused as a result of the strike; urging passengers to contact the Airline Company at the number 01/629999 for any inquiries or information and to visit the Company website: www.mea.com.lb for updates on flight schedules.
R.Sh.
 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Economy - Flight Captains' Syndicate to suspend its strike
 

Sat 3/12/2011 21:05

NNA - 3/12/2011 - National News Agency delegate at Rafic Hariri International Airport in Beirut reported Saturday evening that the Syndicate of Flight Captains is to hold a press conference at the Airport in a while, in order to declare suspending its strike.
R.Sh.
 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved
 


Economy - GLC digs flaws in Labor Minister's wage boost package
 

Fri 2/12/2011 19:51

NNA - 2/12/2011 - The 17 percent increase to the monthly minimum wage suggested by Labor Minister Charbel Nahhas trespasses the government's competences, a statement issued by the General Labor Confederation (GLC) said following a meeting by its Executive Council.

Nahhas proposed that the minimum wage should be hiked to LL860,000 after adding the transportation allowance of 236,000 to the current LL500,000 minimum wage, as well as the 17 percent of the new total.

"The suggested 17 percent wage increase resurfaces the same flaw of the former decree, according to the State Shoura Council," GLC Head Ghassan Ghosn warned following the meeting.

Furthermore, the GLC saw in Minister Nahhas's "rebellious rapprochement" of adding the transportation remuneration to the current minimum wage a weighty impairment to workers' right as "the whole increase package does not even match that of 2008."

"A valid and practical wage rectification should have only adopted the year 1995 as a base to start boosting wages. The charts reveal the great loss employers will incur as a result of the minister's suggestion," Ghosn added.

During their meeting, GLC members also stressed the importance of ensuring full medical and social coverage to all the Lebanese alike.

"The GLC would like to make clear that it utterly refuses any attempt at tampering with the National Social Security Fund's organization," Ghosn said.

Nahhas's plan, scheduled to be discussed by ministers at a session next week, suggests that the funds that used to be dedicated to the NSSF payments, are now to be paid by the employer to the employee as an increase in their salary.

Most private sector institutions snubbed this plan because they say the minister has no right to add the allowances to basic salaries. They presaged that such increase to the minimum wage would severely affect international investors' willingness to invest in the country.
R.H.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Economy - Aoun, Sabonjian discuss industry sector
 

Thu 1/12/2011 17:18

NNA - 01/12/2011 - Deputy Michel Aoun received on Thursday at his residence Industry Minister Vreij Sabonjian, with talks featuring high on the local industrial sector.

Sabonjian was accompanied with a delegation of the Industrialists Association. Deputy head of said association Ziad Bekdash said after the visit that they came to discuss with the host the salary draft presented by Labor Minister Charbel Nahhas to the ministerial council.
 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


 

Economy - Displaced Fund announces having checks for July war inflicted people
 

Thu 1/12/2011 11:33

NNA - 1/12/2011- Displaced Central Fund announced in a statement issued on Thursday (December 1, 2011) the presence of 188 checks in its offices ready to be handed to July 2006 Israeli war inflicted people.


It also mentioned that the checks are in the names of inflected people from all Lebanese districts except those from South and Nabatiyeh provinces and Rachaya and West Bekaa Districts .It also stated that checks are distributed among renovation and reconstruction.

Moreover, the statement pointed out that concerned people must get with them their identity card, individual or family civil status record, dated less than 6 months ago.

Thus, in order to hasten the pace of settling the compensations and to ease things for concerned people, the Fund continues posting lists of the names of the people to receive their checks with the names of the regions and the real estate numbers on the following websites:

- www.rebuildlebanon.gov.lb
- National News Agency web site: www.nna-leb.gov.lb
- Displaced Central Fund web site: www.cfd.ov.lb

So, the people concerned can check their names on any of the websites mentioned above or at the Displaced Central Fund building in Al-Sanayeh
On the other hand, said Fund mentioned that 957 checks of issuance date which exceeded three years (3) were returned to Higher Relief Committee starting from 11/1/2011 in order to be reissued. It added that 1100 checks are still in its offices due to missing needed documents.
It also mentioned that the total number of checks handed to concerned people until 1/12/2011 amounted to 32908 checks.
L.Y.R/N.AF

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Economy - Nahas promises more mediation efforts between MEA, pilots syndicate
 

Wed 30/11/2011 19:07

NNA - 30/11/2011 - Minister of Labor, Charbel Nahas, on Wednesday avowed that his Ministry would intensify efforts of mediation between the Middle East Airlines company and the syndicate of pilots, amid mounting tensions over pilots strike.

The Minister met today with the Lebanese pilots syndicate, headed by Fadi Khalil, and a number of MEA representatives. A second similar meeting was scheduled for upcoming Friday.

Pilots syndicate announced last Monday the suspension for 48 hours of Middle East Airlines' flights, following a decision by MEA administration to sack one of its pilots due to an ill health condition. It maintained that each pilot was entitled to a sickness leave, whereas two and a half months are fully remunerated, and other two and half only half paid.
But a counter-statement by MEA administration said the company had taken measures compliantly with effective laws.

"Aviation is a vital component of the national economy; MEA is one of the major corporate companies and it is absolutely normal for the state to be keen on protecting economy in general, and the MEA in particular," the Minister said.



R.A.H.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Economy - Nahhas meets Pilots Association delegation
 

Wed 30/11/2011 12:20

NNA - 30/11/2011 - Labor Minister Charbel Nahhas met on Wednesday noon with a delegation from Lebanese pilots association chaired by Fadi Khalil to discuss MEA strike issue.

Lebanese Pilots Association strike came following the layoff of cancer-stricken pilot Joseph Ayat.

Khalil said after the meeting that they put the minister in the atmosphere of the latest developments concerning the association move and the violations of MEA management to deduct salaries of pilots who took part in the strike to compensate the losses incurred by the company during 48 hour strike.

Khalil said that the minister will invite both sides soon to take measures and investigate the MEA violations.

A.A.M

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Economy - Sahnawi opens Connect IT Simplifying expo
 

Tue 29/11/2011 17:17

NNA - 29/11/2011 - Telecommunication Minister Nicholas Sahnawi opened on Tuesday at the secretary center of the Catholic Schools in Beit Merri the Connect IT Simplifying expo.

Sahnawi said he would not spare any effort to enhance the infrastructure of telecommunication networks.

He assured that the optical fibers network project would be accomplished in October 2012 and would shift Lebanon to a more progressed rank.

A.M>
 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Economy - Labor market workshop in Lebanon patronized by Ch. Nahhas
 

Tue 29/11/2011 15:52

NNA - 29/11/2011 - The regional bureau for the Arab countries for the World Labor Organization held on Tuesday a workshop on the labor market in Lebanon, at Holiday Inn hotel in Beirut.

The event was held under the auspices of Labor Minister Charbel Nahhas.

The workshop aimed to support the public employment services in Lebanon and the capabilities of the National Institution for Employment.

Nahhas assured that the salary draft, which included a program pertaining to supporting employment in Lebanon, was referred to the ministerial council for discussion.
A.M.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Economy - Banking sector untargeted confirms Salameh
 

Tue 29/11/2011 12:19

NNA - 29/11/2011 - The Lebanese Central Bank Governor, Riad Salameh, assured Tuesday that the Lebanese banking sector is untargeted.

Salameh denied in his interview with Al Arabiya channel all rumors on money transfer from Syria to Lebanon, assuring that talks over this subject are sheer fabrications.

He reassured the public opinion that no money belonging to the Syrian central bank or the Syrian government has been deposited in the LCB.

As for the latest visit of the US delegation to Lebanon, Salameh said it included several countries and aimed at explaining the measures lately adopted to boycott Syria's central bank and the people whose names will be mentioned in the sanctions lists.

The LCB Governor confirmed that the Lebanese banks will be totally vigilant in dealing with this subject, taking into consideration the names that will be subject to boycott.

"Away from these lists, we will be dealing with the other Syrian agents properly, the way we treat all our clients," Salameh declared.

He reminded as well that the Lebanese banks act upon Lebanon's law; hence they are bound to respect the Security Council's decisions.
"As for certain countries' national decision, they can only be applied in the country itself," said Salameh.
D.K.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Economy - Pilots syndicate suspends work for 48 hours
 

Mon 28/11/2011 19:34

NNA - 28/11/2011 - Pilots syndicate on Monday announced the suspension for 48 hours of Middle East Airlines' flights.

The syndicate explained, in a statement today, that the suspension came in the wake of a decision by MEA administration to sack one of its pilots due to an ill health condition.

The syndicate clarified herein that each pilot was entitled to a sickness leave, whereas two and a half months are fully remunerated, and other two and half only half paid.

Three days ago, the urgent general assembly agreed to adjourn flight hours on November 25, 26, and 27, and suspend work for 48 hours, from Monday till Wednesday evening.

The MEA administration had issued, earlier today, a statement hereby expounding measures it had taken vis-a-vis the aforementioned pilot.

"It is important for the administration to clarify before Lebanese pilots and public opinion that (...) the concerned pilot had lost its faculty of practicing his job due to an incurable disease, which directly led to ceasing his work," the statement read.

The administration took measures compliantly with effective laws, it added.



R.A.H.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Economy - MOL submits project on wages adjustment to cabinet
 

Mon 28/11/2011 19:09

NNA - 28/11/2011 - The Ministry of Labor on Monday submitted to the cabinet a project decision comprising herein an all-inclusive series of project laws and decrees aimed to adjust wages in compliance with the general economic welfare.

The aforementioned project laws and decrees are as follows:

1- A project decree on determining the official minimum wage for employees and workers governed by the labor law, as well as the ratio of living cost;

2- A project decree on endowing the state with the obligation of reimbursing allocations due for the disease and maternity branch at the National Social Security Fund;

3- A project decree on determining the monthly value of scholarships;

4- A decree on setting the First Youth Work program at the National Employment Institution;

5- An urgent project law to amend social security law issued as per decree number 13955/1963.

The Ministry hoped that this matter would be included in the cabinet next session's agenda, in view of approbation.



R.A.H.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Economy - EDL day workers suspend strike
 

Mon 28/11/2011 16:36

NNA - 28/11/2011 - Day workers at Electricite Du Liban today suspended their strike until forthcoming December 15, a statement by EDL indicated on Monday.

Head of the General Labor Confederation, Ghassan Ghosn, told a news conference today that the GLC espoused EDL day workers' claims.

"The continuity of work is the employees' sacred right, in order that they should benefit from guarantees and social allocations," he said.

On a different note, Industrialists Association rejected the inclusion of transportation fees in the basic salary, in the wake of a meeting for the Price Index Committee.




R.A.H.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Economy - (CORRECTED) Safadi well-committed to transparency at Finance Ministry
 

Mon 28/11/2011 15:55

NNA - 28/11/2011 - Finance Minister Muhammad Safadi said he adhered to the principle of transparency concerning any work at the Finance Ministry.
"We, at the Finance Ministry, are much alert to what is going on in the world, and we are very strict to respect the ethical basis for managing the public fund," said Safadi.
Safadi's stance came Monday in the context of a graduation ceremony at the Finance Faculty of La Sagesse University, held under the patronage of Beirut Maronite Archbishop Boulos Matar.
Safadi affirmed that they were keen on the Lebanese banking sector to preserve its performance that averted Lebanon from consecutive crises.
"The excellent reputation of Lebanon in the world made the country amongst the minor states which won the trust of financing institutions," said Safadi, who wrapped up that they would work to boost this trust so as to attract capitals and investments in the country.
A.M./P.BC.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Economy - Safadi well-committed to transparency at Finance Ministry
 

Mon 28/11/2011 15:38

NNA - 28/11/2011 - Finance Minister Muhammad Safadi said he adhered to the principle of transparency concerning any work at the Finance Ministry.
"We, at the Finance Ministry, are much alert to what is going on in the world, and we are very strict to respect the ethical basis for managing the public debt," said Safadi.
Safadi's stance came Monday in the context of a graduation ceremony at the Finance Faculty of La Sagesse University, held under the patronage of Beirut Maronite Archbishop Boulos Matar.
Safadi affirmed that they were keen on the Lebanese banking sector to preserve its performance that averted Lebanon from consecutive crises.
"The excellent reputation of Lebanon in the world made the country amongst the minor states which won the trust of financing institutions," said Safadi, who wrapped up that they would work to boost this trust so as to attract capitals and investments in the country.
A.M./P.BC.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved




 

Economy - Industry Minister Signs Cooperation protocol in Sudan
 

Mon 28/11/2011 09:27

NNA - 28/11/2011 - Lebanese Industry Minister Vrej Sabonjian signed a cooperation protocol with his Sudanese counterpart Aawad Ahmed Aijaz in Sudan.

The cooperation memorandum aims to boost bilateral ties between Lebanon and Sudan on different aspects, particularly in industrial field.

During the ceremony which was held at the Sudanese Industry Ministry in presence of Lebanese Ambassador to Sudan Ahmaed Shammat and a number of Lebanese industrials and businessmen Sabonjian, Aijaz praised the Lebanese achievements in Sudan were they became Sudanese Lebanese, stressing readiness to build partnership based on joint interest.

On his part, Sabonjian hailed the Lebanese Sudanese robust relations, calling on both countries to activate and develop them more on all levels.

Sabonjian stressed "since Lebanon and Sudan have a stable situation so we should pave the way for more investments".

Sabonjian conveyed President Michel Sleiman's regards to Sudanese President Omar Hasan Ahed el Bashir who supports and boosts investment and chairs the Higher Committee for investments in Sudan.

A.A.M

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Economy - C. Nahhas chairs final price index meeting
 

Fri 25/11/2011 19:41

NNA - 25/11/2011 - Minister of Labor, Charbel Nahhas, presided Friday over the last meeting of the price index committee declaring cabinet's upcoming session is planning to focus on wages file, as it is a more pressing issue than funding the Special Tribunal for Lebanon.

Present at the meeting were the President of the General Confederation of Lebanese Workers (CGTL) Ghassan Ghosn, representatives of trade unions, the Chamber of Commerce of Beirut and Mount Lebanon, and Beirut's trade association.

Ghosn said after the meeting that the correction of wages should include all employees. "We can say for the first time that we are addressing wage ratification in accordance with the law."

For his part, Minister Nahhas considered it the responsibility of the Ministry of Labor to ensure the social situation in the country. "The economic situation of 4 million Lebanese precedes the tribunal," he added, "Next Monday we will send proposed decisions to cabinet to be determined during Wednesday's sessions."

R.Z.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Economy - Nahas receives Topbas, inks Lebanese-Ukrainian agreement
 

Fri 25/11/2011 18:03

NNA - 25/11/2011 - Minister of Economy and Trade, Nicolas Nahas, on Friday met with Head of Istanbul Municipality, Kadiri Topbas, over bolstering bilateral economic ties and the high importance of Beirut and Istanbul's geographic location.

On the other hand, Nahas today headed the Lebanese official delegation at the joint Lebanese-Ukrainian committee at Coral Beach Hotel, in presence of the Ukrainian delegation with Minister of Development, Construction, and Housing, Anatoly Blinzyuk, as its head.

Both Ministers inked the final draft of a bilateral cooperation agreement.

"We sought to activate the work of the joint committee and concentrate on the sector of agriculture and renewable energy, as well as on investment, industrial cooperation, and maritime transportation, said Nahas, stressing that no trade could be feasible unless appropriate infrastructures were available.

Blinzyuk, for his part, expected exchange between Turkey and Lebanon to continue as long as cooperation would bear fruit.



R.A.H.

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Economy - Aridi follows up on array of economic, developmental, political affairs
 

Fri 25/11/2011 15:15

NNA - 25/11/2011 - Minister of Public Works and Transportation, Ghazi Aridi, on Friday met with Ukrainian Minister of Development, Construction, and Housing, Anatoliy Bliznyuk, over the means to boost bilateral cooperation on the levels of economy and trade.

He later tackled latest political developments in Lebanon and the broader Arab region with Egypt's ambassador, Mohammad Tawfiq.

MP Akram Shouhayeb, from the National Struggle Front bloc, also visited Aridi today for a meeting over most recent developments and a spectrum of development-related affairs.

The Minister later met with Mahmoud Salhab from Tripoli seaport administration board, and Faten Merhebi from the Arab Seaports Union.

Talks dwelt on the possibility to establish an Arab funds-backed traveling station in Tripoli port.



R.A.H.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Economy - LCB signs cooperation agreement with Ukrainian national Bank
 

Fri 25/11/2011 14:42

NNA - 25/11/2011 Lebanese Central Bank governor Riyad Salemeh signed Friday a financial and economic cooperation agreement with the Ukrainian National Bank represented by Minister for Regional Development, Construction and Housing Utilities of Ukraine Anatoly Bliznyuk.

The agreement aims at strengthening bilateral economic and financial ties as it allows facilitating proper treatment of pending issues in that respect.

The agreement remains valid for three years to be renewed automatically unless; one of the parties conveys willingness, six months earlier, to annul the agreement.


L.W.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Economy - Abboud: Tourism makes up 22% of NI
 

Fri 25/11/2011 14:15

NNA - 25/11/2011 Tourism Minister said that 22% of the National Income in Lebanon is brought in by Tourism sector.

We have our hoped high that the oil exploitation be accomplished so as to ensure other major sources of revenues to Lebanon, Minister Fadi Abboud said yesterday during the inauguration of the Christmas fair in "Mtayleb Country Club".
Concluding his word the Minister said we ought to give attention to human investment "which is the leading title of any tourism plan in the country."


L.W.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Economic - Safadi calls upon Arab countries to cooperate for establishing true economic market
 

Fri 25/11/2011 14:04

NNA - 25/11/2011 - Finance Minister Muhammad Al-Safadi called Friday on the Arab countries to boost up cooperation for establishing a real joint economic market.

The Minister's word came during the annual Arab banking conference 2011 organized by the union of Arab banks, entitled "Future of the Arab World in Light of Recent Transitions", and held for the second consecutive day at Phenicia hotel, Beirut.

"The Arab countries, the private sector, the banks and the businessmen are all entitled to found a productive economic pattern and provide social safety net for people," the Finance Minister corroborated.

"By the time the Arab states going through unrest reach the awaited progress, they would need the highest levels of economic and financial support so as to preserve stability away from anarchy," said Safadi.

The Minister noted that the countries which have witnessed transitions are now suffering the most from flaw in economic productivity leading to the increase of unemployment ratios, as well as to a decline in growth rates.

"Solving this crisis requires huge investments in the productive sectors, hence necessities a working force with great expertise," he said in this regard.

"This is the vortex from which we need a way out so that we could accomplish true 'Arab spring'," the Minister finally announced.
D.K.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Economy - Sabounjian take up industrial ties' buttressing
 

Fri 25/11/2011 13:54

NNA - 25/11/2011 Industry Minister hashed out Friday about the Lebanese-Iranian industry Ministries signed agreements, during his meeting with the Iranian Ambassador Ghadanfar Roknabadi.

The latter uttered his country's willingness to support Lebanon in establishing industrial cities and conveyed President Ahmedinejad's invitation to Minister Freij Sabounian to visit Iran.

Sanounjian heaped praise on the Iranian concern in developing bilateral industrial ties, and said he shall answer the invitation deeming the visit as an important step to open cooperation horizons and investment opportunities.

The Minister is scheduled to visit Sudan tomorrow so as to sign a cooperation protocol between the Sudanese and Lebanese Industry Ministries, as he shall be partaking in the 41 session of the Conference of Chambers of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture.


L.W.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Economy - Nahhas discusses boosting ties with Turkish economic delegation
 

Fri 25/11/2011 10:57

NNA - 25/11/2011 - Economy Minister Nicolas Nahhas met on Friday morning with Istanbul municipality head Kader Toubashi accompanied by Turkish economic delegation.

Discussions focused on boosting economic ties between Lebanon and Turkey and continuous communication for the interest of both countries.

A.A.M

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Economy - Mikati, Arab Banks Union tackle related issues
 

Thu 24/11/2011 21:31

NNA - 24/11/2011 Prime Minister Najib Mikati met on Thursday evening at the Grand Serail with Arab Banks Union delegation where they tackled relevant Arab banking affairs.
The delegation is currently partaking in the annual Arab banking conference for the year 2011, convening in Beirut under the patronage of Premier Mikati. Conference discussions center on the Arab situation and future outlook for the Arab region, besides means of expanding cooperation among Arab banks.
Speaking in the name of the delegation, Union Head Adnan Ahmad Youssef said that the situation of Arab banks is solid and will be implementing international criteria in the future. He also assured that Arab banks shall attain by the end of the current year good outcome, in comparison with American and international banks.
 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved
 


Economy - Akkar delegation on a 'solidarity' visit to Aridi
 

Thu 24/11/2011 17:31

NNA - 24/11/2011 - A delegation of Akkar municipality councils, accompanied by Member of Parliament, Mouein Merehbi, on Thursday paid an unscheduled "solidarity" visit to Minister of Public Works and Transportation, Ghazi Aridi, who was not present at his office.

Following a meeting with officials from the Ministry, Merehbi said the failure to earmark cash advances to the Ministry of Public Works and Transportation after a cabinet approval, was an "unmatched heresy."

He vowed to stage a sit-in inside the premises of the Ministry, if required amounts to resume works scheduled for Akkar district were not allocated by the end of the current month.

Akkar is a deprived area in North Lebanon, with only few roads, bridges, universities, hospitals, and water and energy installations available.



R.A.H.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Economy - Nahas encourages for further Ukrainian-Lebanese cooperation, underscores Lebanese economy's resilience
 

Thu 24/11/2011 15:33

NNA - 24/11/2011 - Economy and Trade Minister Nicolas Nahas launched on Thursday the second meeting for the Lebanese-Ukrainian joint governmental committee for economic and commercial cooperation held at Coral Beach hotel in presence of the Ukrainian Ambassador to Lebanon and other ranking dignitaries.

Nahas delivered a word on this occasion assuring that the Lebanese-Ukrainian cooperation had led to reinforcing commercial exchange, as well as to increasing the ratio of Ukrainian business and official delegations' visits to Lebanon and vice versa.

The Minister affirmed that our country has proven itself capable of shielding its economic growth from all the challenges with total flexibility, owing to its openness, to the solidity of its banking sector, and to the private sector's perseverance.

He also announced that the Lebanese government is seriously looking forward for establishing new commercial enterprises so as to draw foreign investments to the country.

"Lebanon has always been known for its adoption to free markets concepts which encourage liberal trade, fair competition, transparency and accountability," Nahas pointed out.
D.K.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Economy - Mikati: 5.7% growth in Lebanese economy
 

Thu 24/11/2011 13:08

NNA - 24/11/2011 Prime Minister Najib Mikati said Thursday that Lebanon has scored a 5.7% economic growth rate in 2010 with a GDP approaching $40 billion and a 5% "reasonable" inflation rate.

Mikati inaugurated the 2011 Annual Arab Banking Conference of the Union of Arab Banks (UAB) held in Beirut at the Phoenicia hotel in participation of Ministers of Economy, Trade and Finance, Central Bank Governors, Leaders of Banks and Financial Institutions, Leaders of Economic Enterprises, Chairpersons of Economic and Financial Organizations, Investment and pension funds and ICT Companies, and other concerned officials.

Premier Mikati stressed in his word the need to proceed with endeavors to achieve regional complementarity and fortify our Arab economy.

He pointed herein Lebanon's effective role to reduce ongoing threats' repercussions.
"Despite Lebanon's influence by political and security situation the country's banking sector has managed to remain one of the most fortified and immune sectors," he said pointing out the sector's 7% registered increase.

The government is intensifying its efforts to anchor security and stability, reinforce Lebanon's foreign ties especially within economic and financial fields.

"The Lebanese government reiterates its commitment to abide by international resolutions especially 1701," Mikati said.

Concluding his word, the Premier recalled on all political leaders to meet and hold an honest dialogue so as to preserve our national unity.
"Dialogue is irreplaceable for it represents our gate toward prosperity," he said.


L.W.
 

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Economy - (corrected) Opening conference on finance sector stability
 

Wed 23/11/2011 19:51

NNA - 23/11/2011 - A conference on the stability of the finance sector was opened at the main headquarters of the Central Bank.

The conference was organized by the World Bank in association with Bank of Lebanon, the Arab Monetary Fund and the Arab Banks Union.

The Central Bank Governor Riad Salameh gave a word during the opening event, saying he was looking forward to launching financial markets that could hopefully help provide citizens with financial loans.
A.M>

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Economy - Opening conference on the stability of finance sector
 

Wed 23/11/2011 19:27

NNA - 23/11/2011 - A conference on the stability of the finance sector was opened at the main headquarters of the Central Bank.

The conference was organized by the International Bank in association with Bank of Lebanon, the Arab Monetary Fund and the Arab Banks Union.

The Central Bank Governor Riad Salameh gave a word during the opening event, saying he was looking forward to launching financial markets that could hopefully help providing citizens with financial loans.
A.M>
 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Economy - Safadi meets delegations of IMF, French Budget Ministry
 

Wed 23/11/2011 18:25

NNA - 23/11/2011 - A delegation of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) visited Wednesday Finance Minister, Mohammad Safadi.

The delegation today summed up its two-week visit to Lebanon to negotiate the drafting of the IMF's financial and economic "Article IV Report" on Lebanon.

Christina Costiale, head of the delegation, announced that during her staying in Lebanon, she met with Prime Minister Najib Mikati, Central Bank Governor Riad Salameh, and a number of ministers, deputies, officials, private sector and academic's representatives.

On the other hand, Safadi received a French delegation from Public Budget Ministry, presided by head of the International Department at the Ministry, Josiane Lanteri.

Talks reportedly focused on the continued technical support that France is presenting to the Lebanese Finance Ministry, in the means of promoting bilateral cooperation.


P.BC.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Economy - Mikati patronizes Ericsson summit
 

Wed 23/11/2011 18:12

NNA - 23/11/2011 - Ericsson launched on Wednesday the proceedings of the Middle East media summit, under the auspices of Prime Minister Najib Mikati, represented by Telecoms Minister Nicolas Sehnawi, at Habtoor Grand Hotel, Sin-el-Fil.

Speaking on the Prime Minister's behalf, Sehnawi hailed Ericsson's initiative "which gathers senior officials and directors of Arab and international leading telecoms companies."

He underlined that the Telecoms Ministry was endeavoring to turn Lebanon into a regional dais for the numeric economy.

Accordingly, he listed the accomplishments of Mikati-led government in the telecoms sector, before revealing that studies were still underway to launch the 4G service and the new optical fibers network.



R.A.H.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Economy - Nasnas participates in Euro-Mediterranean council's conference in Istanbul
 

Wed 23/11/2011 16:42
NNA - 23/11/2011 - The Euro-Mediterranean council held Wednesday its annual meeting in Istanbul, Turkey tackling the means to activate cooperation between the region's countries and create new job opportunities to boost the youths' role within the society.

The head of the economic and social council Roger Nasnas, who represented Lebanon in this conference, had also chaired a workshop on "initiative, innovation and creation in the region."

Nasnas indicated that "in light of the economic and social situations, as well as the escalation of unemployment rates, it is necessary to create new opportunities to encourage the youth who took the initiative to establish small and medium sized enterprises."

"This urges for better cooperation between the state and the civil institutions in order to guarantee the best climate for the establishment of such enterprises," he said.

Nasnas affirmed the necessity of adopting legislations which reduce fiscal and social taxes imposed on small enterprises, and facilitate cooperation in order to ensure innovation and creativity.

"Lebanon had always played a pioneering role in the region as it linked the east to the west," Nasnas pointed out.
D.K.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Economy - Aridi follows up array of affairs
 

Wed 23/11/2011 16:38

NNA - 23/11/2011 - Minister of Public Works and Transportation, Ghazi Aridi, on Wednesday followed up on a spectrum of developmental and syndical affairs, with his itinerant visitors at his ministerial office.

He first met with Change and Reform bloc member, Nabil Nicolas, who said cabinet decisions on resuming public road works must be implemented.

Aridi later met with Future's Deputy Hadi Hbeish over a number of developmental projects.

Moreover, a delegation of Aviation Company's employees syndicate and a delegation of Beit Chaar municipality respectively visited Aridi today.



R.A.H.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved









 

Economy - Nahas, Roknabadi tackle economic ties
 

Wed 23/11/2011 16:28

NNA - 23/11/2011 - Minister of Economy and Trade, Nicolas Nahas, and Iranian ambassador, Ghazanfar Roknabadi, on Wednesday engaged in bilateral economic ties.

The Minister revealed that a number of understanding memorandums between Lebanon and Iran were underway and that a related execution program would be elaborated soon.

Separately, Nahas partook today in the inauguration ceremony of the Lebanese-Korean meeting, labeled "For Solid Economic Relations."


R.A.H.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved






 

Economy - Safadi tackles financial, administrative affairs with court of audit head
 

Wed 23/11/2011 14:11

NNA - 23/11/2011 - A delegation of the Finance Ministry, headed by Finance Minister Muhammad Al-Safadi and comprised of ranking officials visited Wednesday the court of audit's head, Judge Aouni Ramadan with talks featuring high on administrative and financial affairs.

Both sides tackled as well the conditions of the Finance Ministry and the adequate work measures that could be adopted to improve its performance and boost its work.

Conferees highlighted the importance of cooperation and joint efforts between all concerned sides to find formulas that guarantee progress for the next stage.
D.K.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved
 





 

Economy - Wages adjustment fuels production, says Ghosn
 

Mon 21/11/2011 16:50

NNA - 21/11/2011 - Head of the General Labor Confederation (GLC), Ghassan Ghosn, on Monday said wages adjustment was fuel to production, as it helps create new job opportunities, boost growth ratios, and anchor social stability.

Ghosn met today with a delegation of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), to whom he expounded the current economic recession, the stall in production ratios, and markets' stagnation.

The meeting also highlighted the necessity that the IMF report includes the GLC observations, namely the fiscal system revision, the increase of the state's contribution to social allocations and wages adjustment, in order to beef up purchasing power and secure social justice.



R.A.H.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Economy - Sleiman: To bolster Lebanese-Chinese tourism exchange
 

Mon 21/11/2011 13:47

NNA - 21/11/2011 Lebanese President said Monday that there is little tourism exchange between Lebanon and China.

Tourism Minister Fadi Abboud represented President Michel Sleiman Monday during the inauguration of the First Lebanese-Chinese Tourism Forum entitled "Tourism: culture, art and an interaction of civilizations."

The event was co-organized by the Federation of trade unions tourism in Lebanon, the Lebanese-Chinese League for Friendship and Cooperation, and the Lebanese University- Faculty of Tourism- at the Monroe hotel, in presence of Chinese Ambassador and other concerned officials.

On behalf of President Sleiman, Abboud said this event is crucial to the development of tourism cooperation between both countries.

"It might also bring to light major potentials both countries bear and launch tourism cooperation reinforcement steps," he said.

While tackling the support and keenness China had and still has on Lebanon, the Minister said we ought to exert effort to increase Chinese tourists' influx to Lebanon.

In that respect he put emphasis on the importance of the 2012 Promotion and Marketing executive program aiming at assigning a Chinese company to deepen cultural exchange and bolster tourism activity.

Concluding his word the Minister hoped this event would be an essential step on the path of Lebanese-Chinese ties reinforcement.

L.W.

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Economy - Sahnawi discusses cooperation with CYTA senior
 

Fri 18/11/2011 17:46

NNA - 18/11/2011 - Telecom Minister Nicholas Sahnawi met on Friday at his office with the Executive Head of Cypriot Telecom Company "CYTA", Photis Savvides. Both discussed the probabilities of cooperation in the context of EUROPA cable system planning, knowing that said cable is a high capacity naval one that links Lebanon and Cyprus.
A.M./P.BC.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved
 


Economy - Abboud discusses tourism relations with South Korean Ambassador
 

Fri 18/11/2011 16:00

NNA - 18/11/2011 - Tourism Minister, Fadi Abboud, tackled the means to boost bilateral relations, particularly on the tourism level, with South Korean Ambassador to Lebanon on Friday.

Talks also touched on exchanging expertise between both countries in order to increase the number of flights and tourists.
 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Economy - Nahas participates in Lebanese-Russian governmental committee's meeting
 

Fri 18/11/2011 15:48

NNA - 18/11/2011 - Economy and Trade Minister Nicolas Nahas headed the Lebanese delegation which participated in the second meeting for the Lebanese-Russian governmental committee for trade and economic cooperation held in Moscow.

The meetings had led to signing cooperation protocols in the fields of electricity water resources, industrial and agricultural cooperation, sea & land transportation and railways as well as in the field of defense, investment and fashion.

Minister Nahas tackled on this occasion the historical relations between Lebanon and Russia, interpreted by official visits paid by President Michel Sleiman and former Prime Minister Saad Hariri.

"Investment is the best way to reinforce ties," he said, calling for eliminating all technical and practical procedures.

He urged the concerned authorities to set joint protocols on fuel oil, water and electricity issues so as to answer the developmental requirements.

It is to note that the Lebanese delegation returned in Beirut today Friday.
D.K.

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Economy - Coordination Committee submits position from new wages proposal
 

Thu 17/11/2011 19:10

NNA - 17/11/2011 - The Syndical Coordination Committee on Thursday informed Labor Minister, Charbel Nahas, of its position from the proposal on wages adjustment, he had submitted during the Price Index Committee (PIC) meeting last week.

The Committee renewed call to approve its participation in the PIC.

It also called to implement law number 183/2000, relevant to the amendment of the minimum wage, according to the annual inflation ratio.

It said that the decision of the State Council to reject a cabinet decision on wages adjustment ipso facto nullified the effect of 2008 salaries increase.

R.A.H.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Economy - United States Provides Training at Leading Microfinance Institutions
 

Thu 17/11/2011 18:44

NNA - 17/11/2011 - The U.S embassy in Lebanon issued on Thursday the following press release: "the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) awarded training certificates to over 180 microfinance loan officers and managers from nine local microfinance institutions and two local banks for completing technical training under the U.S.-funded Lebanon Investment in Microfinance (LIM) program. Micro, small, and medium-sized businesses carry out more than 90 percent of the economic activities in rural areas, and this training program worked to improve loan management and capacity to increase jobs and support growth. USAID is working with local partner microfinance institutions to facilitate and increase access to finance to these companies, develop new loan products, and go further in these disadvantaged areas.
USAID launched LIM in May 2009, and since then has provided loans to over 3,500 small businesses in agribusiness, tourism, and information and communications technology sectors. This has resulted in the creation of over 5,000 jobs, a third of which are filled by women. The Volunteers for Economic Growth Alliance/ International Executive Service Corps (VEGA/IESC) implements this program to expand micro-lending throughout Lebanon. Those interested in applying for loans can consult the individual local partners or contact the LIM program at 01-990234 or 239."
 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Economy - Ch. Nahhas meets with Somafia in Geneva
 

Thu 17/11/2011 17:42

NNA - 17/11/2011 - Labor Minister Charbel Nahhas met on Thursday in Geneva the director general of the World Labor Organization Juan Somafia. Their gathering came in the context of their participation in a meeting for the administrative council of said organization.

Both discussed the impact of the world economic crisis on the labors and laborers in the Arab region, especially Lebanon.

The Lebanese delegation appreciated Somafia's efforts in accessing a number of essential concepts that aim at restricting the influence of the world finance chain upon communities.

 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Economy - Mikati: government seeks to avert toll of world economic crisis
 

Thu 17/11/2011 17:10
NNA - 17/11/2011 - Prime Minister Najib Mikati said his government was following up the world economic developments and was seeking to avert any of its bad repercussions on the country at all levels.

Mikati's stance came on Thursday in the context of his chairing before noon Lebanon's Economic Forum, organized by the Economy and Works Group and IDAL.

The forum was attended by Deputy Prime Minister Samir Mokbel, Finance Minister Muhammad Safadi, Social Affairs Minister Wael Abu Faour and other dignitaries and officials.

Mikati said the government was pressing efforts to boost security and stability at the local arena. He assured that the local security condition was well-composedly controlled, warning at the same time that any risk of any sort of unrest would turn the situation far distance back and would badly affect all without exceptions.

The Premier indicated that his government was giving the national dialogue an absolute priority, in order to enhance the internal unity, solve pending social problems and revitalize the economic movement via motivating the local investment.
 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved








 

 


Economy - Araji: subsidizing diesel is government's way out
 

Thu 17/11/2011 15:12

NNA - 17/11/2011 - Deputy Assem Araji indicated Thursday that providing diesel subsidies at the beginning of winter season is the government's way out, particularly with the towering prices of indispensible fuel resources.

The Deputy questioned the government on this subject through the House Speaker Nabih Berri, especially that the citizens with limited incomes cannot afford paying the diesel costs, same as schools located at mountains' range.

"We believe the government has no intention to subsidize the diesel this year under the pretext that such thing allows monopolizing this product by certain industrialists," he regretted, suggesting to the government to distribute coupons of 1000 liters of diesel for each family that lives in the mountains.
D.K.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Economy - Abboud, Assiri review tourism
 

Thu 17/11/2011 15:04
NNA - 17/11/2011 - Minister of Tourism, Fadi Abboud, and Saudi ambassador, Ali Assiri, on Thursday tackled tourism situation and the inflow of Saudi tourists to Lebanon during Adha holiday.

Speaking to journalists following the meeting, Assiri avowed Lebanon was the favorite destination for Saudis, owing to the special treat they receive in this welcoming country.



R.A.H.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved



 

Economy - Q. Hashem: for government to subsidize diesel
 

Thu 17/11/2011 14:36

NNA - 17/11/2011 - Deputy Qassem Hashem called upon the government to subsidize the diesel substance with the beginning of the winter season.

His demand came Thursday in the frame of a statement at the House Parliament. He explained that citizens suffer an extremely cold weather at high-altitude towns at the time that the environment ministry prohibits cutting off trees. Hashem, accordingly, urged the government to look into public concerns and never disregard the matter.
A.M>

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Economy - Hajj Hassan signs cooperation accord with GIZ
 

Wed 16/11/2011 15:17

NNA - 16/11/2011 - Agriculture Minister Hussein Hajj Hassan signed Wednesday a cooperation accord on forests with the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ).

The Minister thanked Germany and the GIZ for the efforts deployed in different fields in a bid to preserve water and forests resources as well as to fight against deforestation and desertification.

He explained that, through these accords, the GIZ offers to Lebanon technical support while helping the country collect the necessary funds to preserve forests which only cover 13% of the Lebanese surface.

Moreover, Hajj Hassan held a meeting with the Iranian Ambassador to Lebanon Ghazanfar Rukn Abadi whereby they tackled means to boost bilateral relations as well as the schedule of Hassan's forthcoming visit to Iran.
D.K.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved

 


 


Economy - MOA opens Food Industry Forum
 

Tue 15/11/2011 17:54

NNA - 15/11/2011 - The Food Industry Regional Forum for the Middle East and North Africa was opened on Tuesday at Le Royal hotel in Dbayeh. The forum was organized by the Agriculture Ministry in cooperation with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), under the patronage of Prime Minister Najib Mikati, represented by Agriculture Minister Hussein Hajj Hassan.

Hajj Hassan delivered a word on the occasion saying any success in the food industry sector contributed to ameliorating the situation of local food security.
 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Economy - (CORRECTED) Ch. Nahhas meets with his counterpart in Geneva
 

Tue 15/11/2011 15:01

NNA - 15/11/2011 - Labor Minister Charbel Nahhas met on Tuesday in Geneva with the Egyptian Work Force Minister Ahmad Al-Burhi, with talks featuring high on bilateral ties, notably on the presence of Egyptian laborers in Lebanon.

Nahhas's meeting with Al-Burhi came in the context of his presence in Geneva to participate in activities of the World Labor Organization.
A.M.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Economy - Sabonjian: to reduce food industry problems for human health
 

Tue 15/11/2011 14:46

NNA - 15/11/2011 - Industry Minister Vreij Sabonjian said food industry problems in Lebanon were many, and so, Lebanese experts and technicians, concerned about this field, were asked to reduce such problems as much as possible, because human health was a priority in this concern.

Sabonjian's stance came on Tuesday in the context of his chairing a dialogue session on food industry at Adnan Qassar Building for Arab Economy. The session was attended by international and Lebanese experts.
 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Economy - Nahhas, Sabounjian hold coordinatory meeting
 

Tue 15/11/2011 14:38

NNA - 15/11/2011 Industry Minister held Tuesday a coordinatory meeting with the Economy and Trade Minister Nicolas Nahhas.
The meeting tackled reducing the tax on profits derived from industrial exports, establishing export companies, and exempt industrial machinery and raw materials from port fees.

Sabounjian and Nahhas described such event as positive and shed light on its cooperative aspect.
"Industrial progress needs Trade as Trade progress needs Industry," they said.

L.W.
 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Economy - Ch. Nahhas meets with his counterpart in Geneva
 

Tue 15/11/2011 14:04

NNA - 15/11/2011 - Labor Minister Charbel Nahhas met on Tuesday with the Egyptian Work Force Minister Ahmad Al-Burhi, with talks featuring high on bilateral ties, notably on the presence of Egyptian laborers in Lebanon.

Nahhas's visit came in the context of his presence in Geneva to participate in activities of the World Labor Organization.
A.M.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Economy - Nahhas bound to Moscow to tackle trade exchange
 

Tue 15/11/2011 12:16

NNA - 15/11/2011 Trade and Economy Minister is heading Tuesday to Moscow to meet with Russian officials and engage in trade exchange between both countries.

A delegation representing all public and private sectors shall accompany Minister Nicolas Nahhas and work on amending signed protocols in economic, environmental, and industrial fields.

The visit is scheduled to last two days.

L.W.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved




 

Economy - Mikati opens a workshop on combating corruption
 

Tue 15/11/2011 11:34

NNA - 15/11/2011 - Prime Minister Najib Mikati said the revolutions against corruption were part of the recent political and security developments in some of the Arab states.

"The revolutions against corruption should induce us to reassess the administrative and financial systems in government agencies. This task necessitates a continuous follow up from the monitoring and controlling bodies to keep the work in its proper legal framework," Mikati told participants in 46th meeting for the executive council for the Arab Organization for higher financial and accounting departments which was held at the Grand Serail.

The session was attended by ministers, MPs and Arab ambassadors in Beirut.

Mikati stressed that this meeting comes amid wide increase in spending in Arab public departments to finance broad developmental projects in these states.

He added that this spending should be coupled with broader financial supervision both on the local and regional levels.

Mikati called for greater cooperation and coordination among various anti corruption agencies and bodies in the Arab countries to ensure rational use of financial and economic resources of the state.

The prime minister added that these conditions are crucial to serve the society and citizens as well as protecting the natural resources of the Arab states and this will help eradicate corruption.

Mikati believed that corruption was one of the main reasons behind the upheaval and revolutions in some of the Arab countries.

He added that the government is keen on following up the work of public administrations especially those that are in direct contact with the citizens.

Mikati gave the example of the Audit department which is tasked in carrying out monitoring and supervisory duties.

O.H

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Economy - Aridi: Snow removal centers face problems
 

Mon 14/11/2011 16:00

NNA - 14/11/2011 - Public Works and Transportation Minister Ghazi Aridi said the snow removal centers in Lebanon was facing financial problems and needed an allocated sum by Finance Ministry, in order to accomplish works.

The minister's stance came on Monday in the context of a meeting he chaired for directors of snow removal centers in Lebanon.

Separately, Aridi received in the course of the day the European Union's Ambassador, Angelina Eicchorst, who reviewed with the host the bilateral cooperation between Lebanon and Europe.

Afterwards, Aridi received a delegation of the association of Buildings Constructors and Traders, headed by Elie Sawma, who discussed with the minister the condition of the construction sector in Lebanon and the taxes imposed on it.
A.M>

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Economy - Emergency Price Control committee holds first meeting
 

Mon 14/11/2011 15:42

NNA - 14/11/2011 - The Emergency Price Control Committee held on Monday its first meeting at the premises of the Economy and Trade Ministry, in presence of representatives of concerned syndicates, Head of the Prices Technical Department at the Ministry, Ali Berro, and a panel of experts.

Berro informed the committee of Minister Nicolas Nahhas's directions pertaining to the necessity of adopting transparency while controlling and monitoring prices.

Attendees also agreed on the importance of holding similar meetings constantly in order that the Ministry would be able to take required and adequate measures relevant to the scale of prices' progression.



R.A.H.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Economy - Abboud received invitation to participate in "industrial day"
 

Mon 14/11/2011 14:19

NNA - 14/11/2011 - Tourism Minister Fadi Abboud received Monday at his ministerial office a delegation of Keserwan industrialists headed by Nicolas Abi Nasr. The delegation invited Abboud to participate in the "industrial day" in Lebanon which will be attended by Industry Minister Vreij Sabounjian and the head of Lebanese industrialists' association Nehmat Efram.
D.K.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Economy - Labor Minister at Geneva conference
 

Sun 13/11/2011 15:03

NNA - 13/11/2011 - Labor Minister, Charbel Nahhas, arrived in Geneva Switzerland to partake in the International Labor Organization (ILO) preparations for the actual opening of the conference due in June 2012.

High on ILO agenda would be featuring: social protection of domestic workers.
 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Economy - Salameh for an environmentally-friendly economic case
 

Sun 13/11/2011 14:49

NNA - 13/11/2011 - Central Bank governor Riyad Salameh urged Lebanese business concerns to respect ecological and environmental standards in their financial investment and transactions.

Seizing the occasion of the social responsibility of firms' conference, he told the National News Agency (NNA) that the Central Bank fully supports investments and transactions with clear, social, environmental and ecological agendas in Lebanon.

He disclosed a number of circulars issued to this effect by the Central Bank of Lebanon with the expressed aim of propping up small and medium-sized enterprises in areas of tourism and the economy of services. Among other things, the Central Bank extends housing and educational loans regarded friendly to the environment.

Salameh also mentioned renewable clean energy and environmental tourism. According to him, environmental safety standards put forth by International Finance Corporation (IFC) and BITC serve as guidelines to local, social and environmental concerns.

He disclosed that the conference for social responsibility incumbent on Lebanese firms would open at the Bristol hotel on December 1 with 16 leading academicians in the field of environmentally-friendly economics would take the word and board 20 relevant and varied topics.
G.G./P.BC.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Economy - Conference over high quality and excellence
 

Sun 13/11/2011 12:51

NNA - 13/11/2011 - A meeting for planning and programming of high quality excellence opened at Bristol Hotel, Beirut in presence of Judge Aouni Ramadan of the Auditing Department along with a host of experts in the field.

Abdul Qader Zakli of the Arab Organization for high financial control systems and Abdul Hakim Bin Azrak of the EDI where also invited.

Lebanese Judge Efram Khouri and Aouni Ramadan gave opening speeches over the importance of safety standards and emphasized the importance of financial control training of personnel. They also stressed need for promoting financial control capacities by outlaying strategies designed to deliver technically speaking for the process of development.

Lebanese and Arab conferees decided to remain in touch over data exchange while agreeing at the same time to consult legal, administrative and financial expertise. They also decided to address problems at hand together.

Also speaking at the conference, Zakli made a connection between standards of excellence and the Arab Spring without calling it by name.
G.G./P.BC.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Economy - Nahass forms special committee to manage prices
 

Sat 12/11/2011 11:00

NNA - 12/11/2011 Minister of Economy and Trade, Nicholas Nahass, announced Saturday forming a special committee for monitoring and controlling prices of goods.

The Minister named Foad Fleifil head of said group and expected it to come up with solutions to ever escalating prices of food commodities. The committee is scheduled to hold its first session upcoming Monday at the Ministry.

R.Z.
 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved




 

Economy - Nahhas optimistic about salary adjustment
 

Fri 11/11/2011 19:11

NNA - 11/11/2011 A Price Index meeting held Friday by Minister Charbel Nahhas concluded with the need for further serious deliberations based on written suggestions by all parties concerned, and a hint of hope for better rights for laborers.

The assembly included head of Divan at the Labor Ministry, Ali Fayyad, General Labor Confederation (GLC) Head Ghassan Ghosn, Employers Bodies representatives, as well as others.

"We discussed a formula suggested by the Labor Ministry that caters to 3 main issues," said Labor Minister Nahhas, specifying the three issues as, "promise made to employees by a cabinet decision; opinion of Shoura Council which explained the conditions of authorization and ambiguities that have accumulated over the years; and finally, effect of salary corrections on the general economic situation and the livelihood of all Lebanese."

Nahhas asked all parties present at the meeting to send their suggestions in writing to his Ministry, to be thoroughly studied at a meeting which will be held in the near future. "We hope that Lebanese will see adjustments to their salaries by the end of the month."

The position of the GLC was rather agreeable, expressing respect to the views of the Shoura Council and cabinet decision. "We call for a translation to this [decision] by issuing a decree in accordance with the laws so as not to encounter any legislative pitfalls," Ghosn said.

He assured employees that work was underway to correctly adjust wages according to a proper mechanism that allows decent salaries to laborers, as well as social rights.

R.Z.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Economy - Safadi's various activities today
 

Fri 11/11/2011 16:03

NNA - 11/11/2011 - Minister of Finance, Mohammad Safadi, on Friday met with Danish ambassador, Jan Top Christensen, over the financial situation in Lebanon, and the current Euro crisis.

The Minister later met with Head of the Lebanese Banks Association, Joseph Torbey, over the results of the visit of Daniel Glaser from the US Treasury Secretary to Lebanon.

The meeting also featured high on the underway preparations for the Arab banks' 15th annual conference, to be held on forthcoming November 24 and 25 at Phoenicia Hotel.

Safadi later received Head of accountants syndicate, Gina Shammas.


R.A.H.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Economy - Abboud content as Lebanese unite for Jeita voting
 

Fri 11/11/2011 15:23

NNA - 11/11/2011 - Tourism Minister Fady Abboud said he was content with the Lebanese public's voting for Jeita Grotto in unison, in the context of the Natural Seven Wonders competition.

Abboud issued on Friday a statement hailing the Lebanese public for solidarity to achieve a noble objective, which is voting for Jeita to win said competition.

"Lebanon remains the country of beauty, right and every good�And Jeita Grotto turned to be on every lip or tongue across the world," said Abboud.

The minister assured that the number of tourists in Lebanon would increase within a tourism plan set by the government, pointing out that "Jeita Grotto is a national wealth possessed by the public, not investors."
A.M>

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Economy - Mikati chairs Oil and Gas committee meeting
 

Fri 11/11/2011 13:18

NNA - 11/11/2011 Discussions on Oil and Gas exploration projects decrees, Water and Energy Minister presented were resumed Friday at the Grand Serail.

Premier Mikati chaired the second meeting of the ministerial committee tasked with following up the issue of offshore oil resources.

The meeting was held in presence of the committee members, Ministers of Health (Ali Hassan Khalil), Finance (Mohammad Safadi), Water and Energy (Gibran Bassil), and Justice (Shakib Qortbawi).

Once gathering was winded up, Minister Bassil briefly exposed the tackled financial and technical ideas the Energy Ministry team has set.

Asked about the finishing date display, Bassil said it cannot be previewed yet and hoped, in spite of expectations, work would be concluded soon bearing in mind the importance of this matter.

Bassil also said that solution for electricity problem is temporary for later on, the plan ought to be executed in a comprehensive way and not to be broken down, in his response to a question.


L.W.

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Economy - Khalil signs health agreement with his French counterpart
 

Fri 11/11/2011 11:04

NNA - 11/11/2011 - Public Health Minister Ali Hassan Khalil signed with his French counterpart Noura Berra at the Health Ministry in Paris an agreement for renewing for three years the cooperation between the Lebanese Health Ministry and the French higher health committee.

The signing ceremony was attended by the Lebanese Ambassador to France Boutros Asaker, the Health Ministry's Director General Dr. Walid Ammar, and other ranking dignitaries.
D.K.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


 

Economy - Nicolas Nahhas: Cabinet will take decision to fund STL
 

Fri 11/11/2011 10:56

NNA - 11/11/2011 - Economy Minister Nicolas Nahhas stressed that the cabinet would take the appropriate decision to fund Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) before the end of this year.

On the other hand, Nahhas said that the visit of U.S. Treasury Assistant Secretary for Terrorist Financing Daniel Glaser to Lebanon came in the frame work to follow up financial affairs in Lebanon and the region.

Concerning generating electricity by ships, Nahhas expected "signing energy contracts from now till 2 or 3 months and providing ships next summer".

A.A.M

NNA 2011 All rights reserved





 

Economy - Sehanoui Bureau: internet service back to function
 

Thu 10/11/2011 22:03

NNA - 10/11/2011 Internet service was back to normal function as of 8.30p.m. this evening, after Telecommunication Ministry team work repaired a failure in internet connection, Telecommunication Minister Nicholas Sehanoui's Media Bureau said in a statement.
Failure in internet service occurred on Thursday, whereby Minister Sehnaoui instantly mobilized his Ministry team work and followed up repair works to restore service.
---------------L.Y

NNA 2011 All rights reserved
 


Economy - Sehnaoui mobilizes team work to repair internet service failure
 

Thu 10/11/2011 21:06

NNA - 10/11/2011 Telecommunication Minister Nicholas Sehnaoui mobilized Ministry team work to repair internet service failure, Sehanoui's media bureau said in statement.
Internet service failure has occurred on Thursday evening, whereby Minister Sehanoui is currently following up repair works efforts to restore service to normal.
-------------L.Y

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Economy - Nahas, supermarkets owners tackle prices hike
 

Thu 10/11/2011 17:17


NNA - 10/11/2011 - Minister of Economy and Trade, Nicolas Nahas, on Thursday discussed food prices hike with a delegation of supermarkets owners.

He announced the formation of an emergency committee comprising the gathering of food syndicates and aiming at inquiring any prices increase.

He avowed that the Ministry would be adopting a series of necessary measures if need be.

"The Ministry is receiving citizens' complaints on the number 1739," he reminded.

Nahas will be meeting tomorrow with a delegation of food syndicates' gathering.



R.A.H.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved

 













 

 

Economy - IMF delegation briefs Safadi on "article four" report study
 

Thu 10/11/2011 16:24

NNA - 10/11/2011 - Finance Minister Muhammad Safadi tackled Thursday with a delegation of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) its annual comprehensive economic report on Lebanon, also known as the "article four" consultation report.

The IMF delegation, in Lebanon until November 23, will meet with Lebanon's Central Bank Governor Riad Salameh and a number of Ministers, Deputies, officials and representatives of private and academic sectors.

Separately, Safadi received the Qatari Ambassador to Lebanon Saad Ben Ali Al-Muhannadi with talks featuring high on relations between Lebanon and Qatar as well as on current Arab and local developments.
D.K.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved






 

Economy - Bassil meets with Ghosn, Watkins, and Czech Ambassador
 

Thu 10/11/2011 14:47

NNA - 10/11/2011 Minister of Water and Energy met Thursday with the GLC Head Ghassan Ghosn and tackled the issue of preserving laborers' right.

Bassil also received the UN Secretary-General Special Representative, Robert Watkins.

Furthermore, the Minister met with newly appointed Czech Ambassador Svatopluk Cumba with talks featuring high on bilateral cooperation.


L.W.
 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved

 








 

Economy - Displaced return tops Terro's talks
 

Thu 10/11/2011 14:35

NNA - 10/11/2011 Displaced Minister Alaa Eddine Terro held a meeting Thursday and tackled the issue of evacuating Aabey and Benieh towns so as to give back the lands and homes to their owners and, allow them to return to their hometown.

Terro said the period of return ought to be determined in order to proceed with evacuation process.

The Minister had discussed earlier the evacuation process in Beirut Southern Suburbs during his meeting with Deputy Alain Aoun.


L.W.
 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved
 


Economy - Glaser holds talk with Mikati, Salameh
 

Thu 10/11/2011 11:52

NNA - 10/11/2011 - U.S. Treasury Assistant Secretary for Terrorist Financing Daniel L. Glaser visited Lebanon and met with Prime Minister Najib Mikati, Bank of Lebanon Governor Riad Salameh, and a number of representatives from the Lebanese banking community. This is Mr. Glaser's first visit to Lebanon as Assistant Secretary.

In his meetings, Mr. Glaser underscored the need for Lebanon to take the necessary steps to ensure a transparent and well-regulated financial sector for Lebanon's continued prosperity. He also stressed the need for authorities to protect the Lebanese financial sector from potential Syrian attempts to evade U.S. and EU financial sanctions. He reiterated the U.S. view that it is important to ensure that the current instability in Syria does not undermine the Lebanese financial sector.

Mr. Glaser also called for Lebanon to meet all of its international obligations, including cooperating with and funding the Special Tribunal for Lebanon. He renewed the commitment of the United States to a stable, sovereign and independent Lebanon.
 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Economy - Safadi meets Sinno
 

Wed 9/11/2011 16:56

NNA - 09/11/2011 - Finance Minister, Mohammad Safadi, met on Wednesday with Chairman of the Agro Food Business Committee, Arslan Sinno, who briefed the minister over problems facing the sector.
 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Economy - Aridi discussed ties with Korean, Cypriot diplomats
 

Wed 9/11/2011 15:34

NNA - 9/11/2011 - Minister of Public Works and Transportation, Ghazi Aridi, on Wednesday met with the Korean and Cypriot ambassadors over bilateral ties and cooperation.

He later met with Member of Parliament Estephan Doueihi and a delegation of Meziara municipality over the current situation and developmental projects.

He also raised the issue of degrees and salaries grid with Head of Beirut Engineers' Syndicate, Elie Bsaibes, and engineer Mohammad Koshli.

Aridi finally received Elie Bekhaazi, representative of the Chinese Engineering Company, with whom he discussed works at Tripoli port.


R.A.H.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Economy - Nahas follows up food products' wholesale prices
 

Wed 9/11/2011 14:44

NNA - 9/11/2011 - Economy and Trade Minister Nicolas Nahas headed a meeting for merchants in presence of Chairman of the Agro Food Business Committee, Arslan Senno, the Acting Economy Director General, Fouad Fleifel, with talks touching on how to set a follow-up mechanism for food wholesale prices and ban all unjustified prices increase.

Nahas also met with the official delegation assigned to visit Moscow next week, going over all the topics to be discussed with the Russians.

Nahas convened as well with Lebanon's representatives in the Lebanese-Ukrainian joint committee, putting the final touches on the issues to be subject of discussion during the meetings which will be held on November 24 and 25 at Coral Beach Hotel, Beirut.

Also, Nahas received the Cypriot Ambassador to Lebanon Homer Mavrommattis, with talks featuring high on means to boost commercial and economic ties between Lebanon and Cyprus.
D.K.

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Economy - Abboud's Latin American tour
 

Tue 8/11/2011 16:33 NNA - 08/11/2011 - Minister of Tourism, Fady Abboud, and accompanying delegation arrived in Brazil from Argentina, following a one week tour in the Latin American nation.

During his stay, he inaugurated the tourism exhibit in the Argentinean capital Buenos Aires where he met with his Argentinean counterpart and leading members of the Lebanese expatriate community.

Having met with Lebanese expatriate leaders at the Chamber of Commerce and Trade in Rio de Janeiro where he commanded them for their efforts at building bridges between the host country and the father land.

The minister stressed the significance of tourism in Lebanon and prodded them to vote heavily for Jeita to list one of the 7 Wonders of the World.

Among other things, he urged the Diaspora Lebanese to reactivate their role by establishing and ameliorating existing links between the host country and Lebanon.
 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Economy - Lebanon Partaking in ILO Conference/Geneva
 

Tue 8/11/2011 13:25

NNA - 08/11/2011 - Lebanon is partaking in the International Labour Organization {ILO} conference in Geneva/Switzerland through a 3-man delegation from the ministry of Labour.

Senior Labour ministry official Abdullah Rizq who heads the Lebanese delegation briefed the conference over the nation's official position vis-a-vis labour issues; He stressed Lebanese government commitment to the enhancement of labour protection preferably through dialogue between bosses and workers.

Rizq and other delegates reportedly discussed special mechanisms designed to ameliorate ILO functions by reducing the amount of organizational paper-work and bureaucratic red-tape.

The Lebanese delegate reportedly criticized lack of consensus between member states and suggested new electoral approaches for the appointment of ILO officials with every nation fielding 3 candidates for appointment.
G.G./R.K.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Economy - European Economic and Social Committee supports Lebanon
 

Tue 8/11/2011 12:08

NNA - 08/11/2011 A letter from Head of European Economic and Social Committee (EESC), Sandy Boyle, confirmed his support to Lebanese Economic and Social Committee in order to sustain and develop civil and social dialogue in the country.

Representatives of Europe's employers, workers and other interest groups can express their views on EU issues through the EESC. It is a consultative assembly, issuing opinions to the larger institutions - in particular the Council, the Commission and the European Parliament.

R.Z.
 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Economy - Khalil bound for France
 

Tue 8/11/2011 11:41

NNA - 08/11/2011 Minister of Public Health Ali Hassan Khalil left Lebanon Tuesday heading to France to sign new cooperation treaty between his ministry and High Authority for Health in France.

R.Z.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Economic - New dairy product factories in Labouwe
 

Sun 6/11/2011 15:45

NNA - 06/11/2011 - Minister of Agriculture, Hussein Hajj Hassan, inaugurated Sunday two centers for dairy product factories in Labouwe/Bekaa in presence of a number of dignitaries and politicians.

Hajj Hassan urged farmers not to give up on coops and never to let anyone thwart their efforts.

He promised to provide farmers with milk reservoirs as a means of encouragement of production turn over.

G.G/R.K

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Economy - Hajj Hassan re-launching IDAL
 

Sat 5/11/2011 14:07

NNA - 05/11/2011 - Minister of Agriculture, Hussein Hajj Hassan announced the re-launching of Investment Development Authority of Lebanon (IDAL) in an attempt to boost Lebanese agricultural exports including vegetables, fruits, olive oil and certain dairy products.

Speaking before a group of Tyr Municipal heads from Amal and Hizbullah, the Minister regarded IDAL as the only outlet left for the Lebanese state to boost its exports rather than raising tariffs and closing borders.

Minister Hajj Hassan disclosed two projects in the offing designed by his Ministry to increase the agricultural output of dairy products and help fishermen by setting fisheries in various parts of Lebanon.

He also spoke about agriculture safety funds to be reactivated in due time as he said. The Minister briefed interlocutors about recent ministry achievements and brought to their attention decisions taken to organize all agricultural sectors in the country.

He spoke about a major fight waged by his ministry to reform the agricultural pharmaceutical products and pledged to go ahead with it till the bitter end.
 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved










 

Economy - Health Ministry to cover hospitals' due sums
 

Fri 4/11/2011 17:53

NNA - 4/11/2011 - Minister of Public Health, Ali Hassan Khalil, told Voice of Lebanon radio station on Friday that the Cabinet approved to issue Treasury bonds of 120 billion LBP to cover hospitals' due sums since 2001.

He reiterated that activating the role of governmental hospitals nationwide was a paramount priority for the Public Health Ministry.

As revealing that formations within hospitals' administration boards would be soon reviewed, the Minister announced a wide examination workshop by competent offices at the Ministry for dispensaries' licenses.


R.A.H.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Economy - Kanaan loads Change and Reform accomplishments
 

Fri 4/11/2011 16:54

NNA - 04/11/2011 MP Ibrahim Kanaan hailed achievements of change and reform during a press conference Friday at his office, while pointing out to various obstacles set in the way of said process.

Chairman of the Finance and Budget Committee revealed that from a constitutional standpoint, the government should have sent the budget to the House of Representatives with the opening of the parliamentary session last October 15. Hence, the Committee was awaiting the arrival of the budget in order to carry studies on it.

The MP contended that the Aounist trend has triumphed in changing the mentality and style of dealing with public funds, and paved the way for parliamentary inspection. On that note, Kanaan accused former PM Foad Siniora of being the prominent violator of the provisions of law and the constitution. He also attacked Council for Development and Reconstruction for being corrupt. The MP was not the least content with the work of the Higher Relief Council, describing it as a self-anointed super cabinet.

"The new Finance Minister did not adopt the change and reform plan asked of him, and did not change finance administration which is powerless and negligent."

Kanaan ultimately promised not to allow anything to hinder the plan to reform institutions.

R.Z.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Economy - Qassar: For a long term socio-economic plan
 

Fri 4/11/2011 14:04

NNA - 4/11/2011 Lebanese Economic Bodies Head Adnan Qassar said Friday adopting a long term socio-economic plan is the solution to the current crisis in Lebanon.

Qassar also said that rise in prices ought to be limited while handling, in counterpart, the wages and salaries dossier on realistic and economic basis afar from political quarrels.

"We are committed to calmness in favor of economic institutions' continuity and economic complementarity," Qassar said.

L.W.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Economy - Nahas tackles commercial exchange with Uruguayan and Mexican Ambassadors
 

Fri 4/11/2011 13:59

NNA - 4/11/2011 - Economy and Trade Minister Nicolas Nahas tackled Friday with the Uruguayan Ambassador to Lebanon Jorje Luis Khoury means to boost economic relations and commercial exchange between Lebanon and Uruguay.

Khoury praised in this regard the meeting held by the Arab businessmen union to which he participated lately.

Later on, Nahas met with the Mexican Ambassador to Lebanon Jorje Alvarez Fuentes with talks featuring high on bilateral economic ties.

Both men stressed on the importance of putting into action the memorandums signed between Lebanon and Mexico since 2010 in a bid to increase Lebanese exports to Mexico and vice versa.
D.K.
 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved









 

Economy - N. Nahas: to amend trade law to become model in the region
 

Thu 3/11/2011 16:37

NNA - 03/11/2011 - Economy and Trade Minister Nicholas Nahas said the government would work to amend and renew the trade law, in order to become a model in the Middle East region.

Nahas held on Thursday a press conference announcing the opening of Lebanon's Economic Forum, which will take place on November 17 and 18 at the Coral Beach hotel of Beirut.

"The forum forms an opportunity for defining to investors the developments witnessed by the Lebanese economy via interaction and communication with them [investors]," said the minister.
 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved

 





 

Economy - Bassil's itinerants today
 

Thu 3/11/2011 15:00

NNA - 3/11/2011 - Minister of Energy and Water Resources, Gebran Bassil, on Thursday met with Hadi Arabi from the World Bank, at his ministerial office.

He later met with Charbel Saleh, Head of EDL Employees Syndicate, who thanked the Minister for the project decree on adjusting salaries and series grid of EDL workers and employees.

A delegation of the Litani National Office also visited Bassil today.



R.A.H.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved







 

Economy - Mikati engages in talks on 2012 Budget
 

Thu 3/11/2011 14:07

NNA - 3/11/2011 2012 Budget law draft was the crowing topic at the Grand Serail today.
Prime Minister convened with several economic bodies, and with respect to the 2012 budget, some counseled amendments and others uttered approval.

At first, Mikati convened with a delegation of the Beirut Agriculture, Industry, and Commerce Chambers Federation headed by Mohammad Shukair.
The latter said he shall raise later on his notes and observations in that respect before the Premier.

Mikati also met with a delegation of the Beirut Merchants Association headed by Nicolas Shammas, who voiced support to the investment spending item and conveyed rejection to the increase of taxation burden on citizens.

On the salaries issue, Shammas called for determining minimum wage and respecting contract between employer and employees while admitting social and economic difficulties.

L.W.
 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved












 

Economy - Sehnaoui: DSL private providers now in Riyad Solh department
 

Thu 3/11/2011 13:46

NNA - 3/11/2011 Telecommunications Minister inaugurated Thursday the introduction of the DSL service private companies' providers to the Ministry's department in Riyad Solh.

Sehanouyi inspected the private companies' equipments that have been finally introduced.

"The embargo, embodied in other party's administrative personnel, on Private sector has been broken," Sehnaoui said shedding light on the importance of this step in allowing subscribers to broaden their internet usage choices.

"This enables the widening of DSL absorptive capacity before consumers ending hence the monopoly of Solidere in Beirut city," he said.

L.W.
 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved









 

Economy - "MTC" launches new 3G service
 

Wed 2/11/2011 19:12

NNA - 2/11/2011 "MTC" Company launched on Wednesday its new 3G service, during a press conference at the Phoenicia Hotel, Beirut, attended by Telecommunication Minister Nicholas Sehnaoui and MTC Director General Claude Bassil.
3G service is high-speed access to data and voice services, made possible by the use of a 3G network.
Elucidating on the new MTC service, Bassil disclosed that the Company is in the process of accomplishing 4G service, noting that around 100 thousand subscribers are already benefitting from 3G service.
Minister Sehnaoui, for his part, disclosed that they are currently working with Finance Ministry to preserve harmony between decreasing prices and safeguarding revenues, noting that existing prices are set to avoid competition with "DSL".
--------------L.Y

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Economy - Deficit drops as primary surplus hikes - Public Finance
 

Wed 2/11/2011 19:10

NNA - 2/11/2011 - The global deficit until August 2011 dropped by 858 billion LBP compared to the same period in 2010, while the primary surplus scored a 580-billion LBP hike, a statement by the Ministry of Finance said Wednesday.

The Public Finance results also stated that the global Budget and Treasury revenues, until past August, rose by 873 billion LBP, whereby Budget revenues, alone, made a 79.10% increase, compared to last year.

Besides, figures revealed a slight increase in expenditures, of nearly 13% in comparison with 2010, with expenditures on electricity rising by 216 billion LBP.

The 2011 records are estimations by the Ministry of Telecoms, noting that they are still not transferred to the Treasury account in the Central Bank.

Figures of 2010, however, stand for the real amounts that the Telecoms had forwarded to the Ministry of Finance.




R.A.H.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Economy - Hajj Hassan hopes amelioration of agriculture industry
 

Wed 2/11/2011 18:07

NNA - 02/11/2011 - Agriculture Minister Hussein Hajj Hassan hoped the condition of agricultural industry in Lebanon would ameliorate despite the difficulties facing this sector.

Hassan represented on Wednesday Prime Minister Najib Mikati whilst launching the regional forum on agricultural industries, at Le Royal hotel of Dbayeh.

The event was attended by Agriculture Ministry Director General Samir Chami, Food and Agriculture Organization representatives, and other dignitaries.
 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Economy - Aridi, Kalogeropoulos lay cornerstone for pedestrian bridge in Beirut
 

Wed 2/11/2011 17:55

NNA - 2/11/2011 - Minister of Public Works and Transportation, Ghazi Aridi, and Greek ambassador, Panos Kalogeropoulos, on Wednesday laid the cornerstone for a Greece-funded pedestrian bridge, in Shatila, Tayouneh.

Aridi did not fail to thank Greece which, albeit crisis, insisted to help Lebanon with the pedestrian bridges project, since 2006.

He later met with Minister of Social Affairs, Wael Abu Faour, over decrees relevant to the specifications if buildings for people with special needs.

Speaking to journalists following the meeting, Abu Faour rekindled the necessity that the cabinet approves the funding of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, probing the 2005 assassination of statesman Rafik Hariri. But the Minister said that he understood the fears of Hezbollah and that this party should not be targeted by foreign powers.

He added that recent positions of Walid Jumblatt, Member of Parliament and Head of the Progressive Socialist Party, indeed stemmed from his keenness on national equilibrium instead of political considerations or an intention of a new repositioning.

Aridi later met with MP Akram Shouhayeb and an accompanying delegation of Aley municipality over an array of affairs relevant to the rehabilitation of said region's roads.



R.A.H.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Economy - Sabounjian: Tax reduction project submitted to ministerial council for discussion
 

Wed 2/11/2011 15:32

NNA - 2/11/2011 - Industry Minister Vreij Sabounjian presented on Wednesday the projects of his Ministry during his patronizing to the conference organized Wednesday by the Free Patriotic Movement at Achrafieh in presence of the head of the industrialists association, Nehmet Efram.

"Despite the internal hindrances, and the political and economic crises, the industrialists managed to increase the volume of their work and enter new international markets," the Minister said.

"We are following up, along with the Finance and Economy and Trade Ministries the issue of tax reduction on exports, a project we have already submitted to the ministerial council," he added.

Sabounjian assured as well that many projects are currently being executed among which establishing private companies for exportation, reactivating the mission of commercial attach�s within the Lebanese embassies abroad, signing cooperation agreements with Soudan, Armenia, morocco, Oman and other countries.

"We will later launch the 'productive Lebanon' project in order to shed light on the economic sector in Lebanon," he concluded.
D.K.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved









 

Economy - Abboud addresses Lebanese Diaspora in Argentina: reflect Lebanon's image of pluralism
 

Tue 1/11/2011 16:38
NNA - 1/11/2011 - Minister of Tourism, Fadi Abboud, currently on a state visit to Argentina, participated Tuesday in the inauguration of the International Tourism Forum, organized in Buenos Aires.

Both Lebanese and Argentinean parties inked an agreement on tourism exchange between the two countries.

The Lebanese Club also hosted a dinner banquet in honor of Minister Abboud, who did not fail to encourage Lebanese expatriates to return to Lebanon.

He called them to reflect Lebanon's excellent image of pluralism, tolerance, and openness, stressing the importance to exchange votes for Jeita Grotto and Iguacu falls.


R.A.H.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


 

 


Economy - Hajj Hassan: Lebanon able to produce, export seeds and plants
 

Tue 1/11/2011 15:08

NNA - 1/11/2011 - Agriculture Minister Hussein Hajj Hassan indicated on Tuesday that Lebanon which has adequate water, climate, soil and experience is able to produce seeds and plants, highlighting the necessity of creating research centers and ratifying registrations at this level.

Hajj Hassan said these words during the inauguration of the first forum for the execution of a national policy on seeds and plants held at Bristol hotel and organized in cooperation with the Agriculture Ministry and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

In the long term, this project will allow Lebanon to export seeds and plants as all the necessary conditions are available.

D.K.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


 

 


Economy - Qassar receives invitation to visit Tehran
 

Tue 1/11/2011 14:26

NNA - 1/11/2011 - Iran's ambassador, Ghazanfar Roknabadi, on Tuesday presented the Head of the Arab Commerce Chambers, Adnan Qassar, with an invitation to visit Tehran on top of a delegation of Arab Chambers' unions, to discuss bilateral cooperation fields.

Roknabadi and Qassar also tackled the means to boost ties between both Arab and Iranian business societies.


R.A.H.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Economy - Sabounjian lists benefits of Lebanon's participation in foreign exhibitions
 

Tue 1/11/2011 13:25

NNA - 1/11/2011 - Industry Minister Vreij Sabounjian announced Tuesday that the Industry Ministry encourages industrialists to participate in the exhibitions to be held abroad as to present their products to the foreign market.

Sabounjian felicitated the participants in the Lebanese exhibition in France held on October 28 hoping they would've benefited from this participation to open communication channels with French and European industrialists and investors.
D.K.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Economy - Khoury tackles industrial, environmental affairs with Efram
 

Tue 1/11/2011 12:10

NNA - 1/11/2011 - Environment Minister Nazem Al-Khoury received on Tuesday at his ministerial office the head of industrialists association Nehmat Efram with whom he discussed industrial and environmental affairs.

Efram confirmed in the wake of the meeting that industry can be eco-friendly, noting that the lack of infrastructure in Lebanon puts the industrialists under huge pressure, yet, despite all that, they [industrialists] are still abiding by the environmental standards.

As for the wage problem, Efram said it should be treated with total wisdom in a way that preserves the Lebanese employees' rights, creates more job opportunities and spares the people further unemployment.

D.K.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Economy - Nahas lectures on 'pioneering innovation in insurance sector'
 

Mon 31/10/2011 18:40

NNA - 31/10/2011 - Minister of Economy and Commerce, Nicolas Nahas, on Monday lectured on "pioneering innovation in the sector of insurance," during a press conference he held at Four Seasons Hotel, organized by BSynchro enterprise for informational technology and service.

As pointing out the stalling in economic growth on the national level, the Minister said this state was due to the lack of initiatives, albeit banks and funding sources were capable to provide required financing.

"We must endeavor to reduce the cost of works in Lebanon through developing a high quality value-added," he said.

He added that the government intended to create free economic zones in Akkar and Bekaa so as to attract investments.

"Globalization leads to think about the international market (...) something that BSynchro had adopted in order that its products become exportable," he said.



R.A.H.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Economy - Hajj Hassan, Oseiri tackle exportation obstacles
 

Mon 31/10/2011 18:34

NNA - 31/10/2011 Agriculture Minister Hussein Hajj Hassan met on Monday at his Ministry office with Saudi Ambassador to Lebanon Ali Oseiri where they discussed the obstacles facing exportation to Saudi Arabia.
IDAL Board Chairman Nabil Itani and Lebanese agricultural products' exporters were present during the meeting.
In a press conference he held in the wake of the meeting, Minister Hajj Hassan said that Lebanese agricultural products are void of infectious diseases, disclosing that IDAL shall follow up examination of products' specifications to avoid returning any shipment.
Hajj Hassan noted that agricultural products' development program, set to be in effect as of 1/1/2012, stipulates development of agricultural products' specifications and quality.
On the other hand, Oseiri stressed Saudi Arabia's support for the Lebanese economy and agricultural sector, presenting all feasible facilities to Lebanese exporters.
---------------L.Y

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Economy - Bassil launches roads power-saving lighting projects
 

Mon 31/10/2011 18:03

NNA - 31/10/2011 - Minister of Energy and Water Resources, Gebran Bassil, on Monday launched a project on developing power-saving lighting on roads, with the support of the Lebanese Center for Energy Conservation (LCEC).

"This project will help control roads lighting owing to solar energy and to 1500 electricity counters and remote controls; hence, it will help save energy," the Minister said.

He added that roads lacking lighting were those relevant to the responsibility of municipalities and that national roads and highways were relevant to the scope of the Ministry of Public Works and Transportation as well as of the Development and Construction Board.

He noted that the goal of the project was to reduce lighting cost, exorbitant on Treasury, municipalities, and citizens, stressing that more power supply hours would be thus provided.

Bassil later met with a number of Deputies and specialists to discuss the means to bring this project into effect.



R.A.H.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Economy - GLC cautions against procrastination in wages adjustment
 

Mon 31/10/2011 14:35

NNA - 31/10/2011 - The General Labor Confederation (GLC) on Monday cautioned against any procrastination and stalling in adjusting the decree on minimum wage and salaries increase.

The GLC met today under the chairmanship of Ghassan Ghosn and called for a meeting on forthcoming October 10 to follow up on this dossier.

It considered the State Shura Council's last week decision as compliant with the GLC claims and demands.
The State Shura Council rejected last Wednesday the project decree on minimum wage and the high cost of living, in objection to the cabinet decree's failure to include workers and employees earning more than 1.8 million LBP per month. The Council deemed the cabinet's proposed form to allocate adjustments was not compliant with the assignment given by lawmakers as per article 6 of the 1967 law. It also said the executive power intervention to determine or amend the daily transportation fee and school allowances surpassed the scope of powers stated by the aforementioned law.



R.A.H.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Economy - Nahhas, Egyptian Ambassador agree on boosting trade exchange
 

Mon 31/10/2011 13:29

NNA - 31/10/2011 Economy Minister tackled Monday Lebanese-Egyptian trade cooperation during his meeting with the Egyptian Ambassador Mohammad Toufic.

Both men agreed on boosting bilateral trade exchange.

L.W.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


 

Economy - Safadi blames lack of time for flaky budget plan
 

Sat 29/10/2011 13:50

NNA - 29/10/2011 Finance Minister Mohammad Safadi is certain that he could have come up with a better budget plan had he been given more time to do it, as he stated Saturday during Lebanon's Banking Day in Paris.

The event was organized by Association of Banks in Lebanon in collaboration with the French Banking Federation and the presence of a large crowd of directors, senior lawyers and staff in the banking sector.

"Lebanon has a successful banking system," assured the Minister who cited stable economy during years of turbulent civil war as an example of the strength of said sector. He hoped to see more cooperation between Lebanese banks and the private sector by 2012, a thing which will generate profit on both ends.

Safadi described criticism of his budgetary plan for 2012 as "unfair," contending that the legal deadline of 90 days did not provide enough time span to come up with a superior plan. Nevertheless, he was content with the three main goals set by the budgetary proposal. "Firstly, to address the serious and growing constraints faced by the infrastructure; secondly, work on providing health coverage and strengthening social safety nets; and the third objective is to attempt to reduce the budget deficit and public debt ratio to GDP."

R.Z.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Economy - Abboud signs tourism agreement with Argentina
 

Sat 29/10/2011 11:25

NNA - 29/10/2011 Tourism Minister Fadi Abboud highlighted vital touristic relations between Lebanon and Argentina as he attends Latin American International Tourism Exhibition (FIT) to promote mutual voting for natural wonders of the world.

The Fair, one of the most important ones of the world, accompanies and fosters the expansion of the tourism sector both in Latin America and internationally.

Minister Abboud urged Lebanese expatriates to invest more in both their homelands of Argentina and Lebanon. He also highlighted mutual voting for seven natural wonders of the world. Lebanon has entered the vote with the marvels of Jeitta Grotto. So did Argentina with its Iguazu Falls.

For his part Argentinean Tourism Minister Enrique Meyer spoke of positive bilateral relations and reminded all Argentineans to vote for Jeitta Grotto.

R.Z.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Economy - Bassil launches Baabda National Projects booklet
 

Fri 28/10/2011 18:54

NNA - 28/10/2011 - Water and Energy Minister Gibran Bassil launched on Friday the booklet enlisting developmental projects and studies across Baabda - Alay region, at the Conferences hall of the Lebanese University in Hadath.

The projects are related to water, power, fuel and sanitary disposal sectors.

The launching event was attended by Justice Minister Shakib Cortbawi, Baabda - Alay deputies and other dignitaries.

Bassil gave a word, highly speaking of the supreme significance of Baabda throughout history and deeming said region as the heart of Lebanon.
A.M./P.BC.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Economy - Nahas expounds jamming faulty challenges in Lebanon
 

Fri 28/10/2011 18:49

NNA - 28/10/2011 - Minister of Economy and Trade, Nicolas Nahas, said the country was saddled with pounding challenges on the national, political, economic, and social levels, during a discussion panel organized by EINSEAD Institute at Le Gabriel Hotel Friday.

He explained that ever since Independence, many attempts were endeavored to bring about a system appropriate to national components, but to no avail.

"It is time to move from insecurity and derailment to interaction within national institutions prone to protect privacy and guarantee balance between rights and obligations," he said.

On the political level, Nahas laid bare an array of questions on the reasons behind existing alignments and the role of the civil society in affecting the current political movement which synchronizes with the interests of the political leadership rather than with those of the society.

National economy was also part of the Minister's thorough vision today, whereby he said the economic challenges required an all-inclusive and painstaking program to underpin a better entrepreneurship, help accede balanced development, and put term to the barren debate on privatization.

He also shed light on the necessity to finalize infrastructure projects in the nearest time possible, develop capacities, limit expenditures and deficit, and draw a tax policy based on incomes' enlargement.

Nahas did not fail to emphasize the stringent need to address poverty, social security, elderly pension, health insurance, and unemployment hardships.




R.A.H.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Economy - Salameh underlines Lebanon's need for reforms
 

Fri 28/10/2011 17:23

NNA - 28/10/2011 Lebanon Central Bank Governor Riad Salameh underlined Lebanon's need for reforms that decrease its public deficit, which can only be realized through a political agreement among all Lebanese segments of society.
Salameh was speaking during his participation in "Lebanese Banks Day in Paris", at the invitation of Lebanon's Banks Association and French Banks Union. Delivered words highlighted Lebanese banking sector's success in surpassing world financial crisis.
Salameh expounded in his word the policy adopted by Central Bank in protecting depositors and investors' funds, assuring the solidity of Lebanon's financial and monetary situation.
"Lebanon is in need of reforms that contribute in ensuring climates conducive for job opportunities and putting a limit to existing inflation", Salameh stressed, underlining the importance of a political agreement among all the Lebanese for these reforms to crystallize.
---------------L.Y

NNA 2011 All rights reserved

 

 


Economy - Safadi, Baroin discuss world economic crisis
 

Fri 28/10/2011 17:17

NNA - 28/10/2011 - Finance Minister Muhammad Safadi met on Friday at his office with his French counterpart, Francois Baroin. Talks reportedly featured high the world economic crisis, especially in the Euro zone, and its impact on the social and economic conditions of countries concerned with it.

Both persons also engaged in talks relevant to financial and economic cooperation. Baroin voiced France's readiness to defend Lebanon's interests at international podiums.
He called upon French companies to partake in infrastructure projects in Lebanon, indicating that the 2012 public budget includes important investment expenditures in this concern.

A.M./P.BC.
 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved

 

 


Economy - Beirut, Paris Chambers launch "Lebanon's week in France" exhibition for boosting bilateral economic ties
 

Fri 28/10/2011 16:43

NNA - 28/10/2011 - The Head of Lebanese commerce, industry and agriculture chambers' union Muhammad Shukeir and the Head of industry and commerce Chamber in Paris inaugurated on Friday "Lebanon's week in France" at the Conference Palace in Paris in presence of Finance Minister, Muhammad Safadi, Central Bank Governor, Riad Salameh, Lebanon's Ambassador to France Boutros Assaker, French Ambassador to Lebanon Denis Pietton and other ranking dignitaries.

This exhibition was organized owing to the support of Lebanon's Central Bank, Solidere, Bank MED and the MEA, as well as Tourism and Industry Ministries.

"Lebanon's week in France" mainly aims at selling Lebanese products and services in European markets, on top of which Paris which is considered the capital and gate of Europe's economy.

It is also aimed at promoting for Lebanon's life style, tourism, cuisine and culture.

Shukeir said this exhibition opens the doors for further job opportunities and for new markets to our national economy.

"This step is clear evidence of our hard work and efforts aimed at developing national economy and creating job opportunities for the Lebanese youth," said Shukeir.

He also hoped for organizing such exhibitions in other European and international markets to present the world with the Lebanese premium products.

Salameh, for his part, praised this effective step which in his opinion mirrors the wide economic interaction between all Lebanese sectors.

"The Lebanese products need new markets," he said, assuring that "Lebanon's week in France" is of major importance at this level.

"This exhibition reflects the depth of the Lebanese-French historical ties. It is a primary stage towards boosting bilateral economic relations," Pietton declared in this regard.
D.K.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Economy - Nahas tackles Lebanese-Suisse economic ties
 

Fri 28/10/2011 13:12

NNA - 28/10/2011 - Economy and Trade Minister Nicolas Nahas tackled on Friday means to boost ties between Lebanon and Switzerland with the Suisse Ambassador to Lebanon Ruth Flint.

Discussions also touched on the assistance that Suisse can offer to Lebanon for reactivating the economy sector.
D.K.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


 

Economy - IMF demonstrates its role in Mideast
 

Fri 28/10/2011 10:22

NNA - 28/10/2011 The International Monetary Fund public relations department organized a conference to give greater understanding of its role and responsibilities within general economic policies.

IMF conference, addressing Lebanese and Jordanian specialized academics as well as media and economic figures, was co-organized by the Lebanese Central Bank (LCB) and the Middle East Regional Technical Assistance Center (METAC).

L.W.
 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Economy - Aridi: Developmental projects right for citizens, duty of the state
 

Thu 27/10/2011 19:13

NNA - 27/10/2011 Public Works and Transportation Minister Ghazi Aridi underlined that nation-wide developmental projects constitute a right for citizens and a duty of the State, which ought to meet its promises and address peoples' stringent needs.
Aridi was speaking during a visit to the City of Sidon on Thursday, where he inaugurated "Haret Sida-Majdelyoun" Highway and laid the cornerstone for Haret Sidon-Habboush-Jbaa Highway.
Aridi's first stop over has been at Sidon Municipality followed by a tour among the various main and secondary roads of the city, which have been rehabilitated by Public Works Ministry at the request of Sidon Municipality.
Aridi then moved to Majdelyoun-Haret Sidon Highway eastern entrance, where he inaugurated the said highway in presence of Deputies Bahiyya Hariri and Michel Moussa, in addition to local dignitaries.
A reception was also held for Aridi at Haret Sidon Municipal Palace, attended by Speaker Nabih Berri's representative General Mohamed Srour, "Loyalty to the Resistance" Bloc Head Mohammed Raad and a number of municipal and local dignitaries.
The delegation then Moved to the Town square at Martyrs Statue where a ceremony was held in honor of Aridi. In his delivered a word, Deputy Mohammed Raad hailed Aridi's developmental policy adopted across the entire Lebanese territories, which reflects a comprehensive national vision besides his concern for a balanced development. Raad also called for casting aside sensitivities and minor issues in political work.

--------------L.Y
 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Economy - Fadel picks holes in government approach of wages adjustment
 

Thu 27/10/2011 18:12

NNA - 27/10/2011 - Member of Parliament Ali Fayad on Thursday said the government approach of wages adjustment was erroneous and flawed amid a relapsing economic juncture.

"Any salaries raise without a comprehensive and all-inclusive approach guaranteeing a growth toll increase is dangerous on the economic and workers' situation," he added.

He called for direct dialogue between committees and workers, in a bid to reach a complete solution to the jamming economic and living hardship.



R.A.H.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Economy - Abboud announces Oct. 30 Telethon Day for Jeita Grotto
 

Thu 27/10/2011 15:00

NNA - 27/10/2011 - Tourism Minister Fady Abboud said a Telethon Day would be specialized for voting for Jeita Grotto on October 30, 2011, in the context of the World Seven Wonders competition.

Abboud held on Thursday a press conference at his office relating recent developments with regards to said competition.

Evoking the Irish boat accident at Solidere seaport, Abboud called for investigation into the accident. He assured that he would encourage the boat sporting activity in Lebanon as it would help boost the local tourism sector.
 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Economy - Bassil for temporal power renting
 

Wed 26/10/2011 15:39

NNA - 26/10/2011 - Energy and Water Minister Gibran Bassil disclosed a project in the ministerial council pertaining to renting temporarily electricity at the time that repair works and maintenance are being carried out for power plants.

In the wake of an inspection tour in Bsalim power plants on Wednesday, accompanied by the Electricite du Liban director general Kamal Hayek, Bassil said Lebanon is in dire need to put this project into action before summer.

"It (the project) must be instantly decided to avoid the annually occurring power crisis," said the minister.

As for the protests against the high frequency lines of electricity in Mansourieh, Bassil branded it as political aiming to let national projects fail.

A.M./P.BC.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved



 


 

 


Economy - Safadi itinerant visitors and activities today
 

Wed 26/10/2011 14:51

NNA - 26/10/2011 - Minister of Finance, Mohammad Safadi, met on Wednesday, Jounieh Seaport Committee who thanked the minister for including the tourism seaport set up project law in 2012 public budget draft.

Safadi later met with Dentistry Teachers League at the L.U. University headed by Fatmeh Hamasni.

It is to note that Finance Minister left Beirut today heading to Paris to partake in the opening of "Lebanon's Week in France" Friday.
 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved




 

Economy - (Corrected) Salameh underlines 'Lira' solidity
 

Tue 25/10/2011 19:55

NNA - 25/10/2011 Lebanon's Central Bank Governor Riad Salameh assured the solidity of Lebanese lira, saying the Central Bank enjoys all required potentials to preserve Lebanese lira currency exchange rate.
Salameh was speaking during a ceremony held in his honor by "Financial Markets" Association in Lebanon at Phoenicia Hotel-Intercontinental.
Salameh brought to attention the Lebanese government and Parliament's endorsement of a law that re-systemizes financial markets in a way that enables them to engage in globalization within these markets.
Salameh anticipated an increase in deposits from 7 to 10%, wishing financial markets all success in their work.
"If political stability is consecrated in Lebanon, we shall witness a new qualitative turning point in the interest of Lebanon and its banking sector", Salameh said.
---------------L.Y

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Economy - Salameh underlines 'Lira' solidity
 

Tue 25/10/2011 19:44

NNA - 25/10/2011 Lebanon's Central Bank Governor Riad Salameh assured the solidity of Lebanese lira, saying the Central Bank enjoys all required potentials to preserve Lebanese lira currency exchange rate.
Salameh was speaking during a ceremony held in his honor by "Financial Markets" Association in Lebanon at Phoenicia Hotel-Intercontinental.
Salameh brought to attention the Lebanese government and Parliament's endorsement of a law that re-systemizes financial markets in a way that enables them to engage in globalization within these markets.
Salameh anticipated an increase in consignments from 7 to 10%, wishing financial markets all success in their work.
"If political stability is consecrated in Lebanon, we shall witness a new qualitative turning point in the interest of Lebanon and its banking sector", Salameh said.
---------------L.Y

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Economy - ESCWA Seeks Promoting South-South Technology Transfer Cooperation
 

Tue 25/10/2011 18:51

NNA - 25 Oct 2011 - In a press release by ESCWA media burreau it said: "(UN Information Service) -ESCWA Technology Centre (ETC) opened today an expert group meeting on "Promotion of South-South Cooperation in Technology Transfer". The meeting is organized in collaboration with the Federation of Chambers of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture in Lebanon (FCCIAL), and held at the Chamber of Beirut. Speakers at the opening session included Director of ETC Fouad Mrad and Director General of the Industrial Research Institute in Lebanon Bassam Frenn.

Mrad highlighted the distinctive participation of the private sector in the meeting, represented by technology suppliers and users in the sectors of construction, education, industry, and scientific creativity. He noted that during last week's Arab Regional Preparatory Meeting for the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20), held in cooperation with the League of Arab States, ESCWA urged to focus on technology transfers befitting Arab countries' conditions and priorities, especially in the field of technology localization, and national capacity building in order to ensure sustainability, effective use and exploitation of technologies. "We look forward that this meeting transforms these recommendations into a scientific reality," he added.

Frenn, for his part, said the Arab Labor Organization's reports show unemployment rates in the Arab region as the worst in the world, exceeding 14 percent. This means that the region has more than 17 million unemployed people, of whom young educated individuals constitute a large proportion. "Solving this problem lies in implementing an ambitious, revivalist project to develop youth infrastructures, most notably education and incubators that contribute achieving their legitimate aspirations," he added. Frenn called for strengthening confidence in youth, working on the development of their capacities and providing them with plans for a productive future. He said this meeting is a step towards changing our current situation so that we may become producers and not only consumers, and to achieve this we should start putting a comprehensive, specific regional context suiting our needs and concerns and by focusing on building knowledge infrastructures and capacities, he said.

Participants in the meeting, which will conclude 26 October, will discuss priority areas of cooperation in technology transfer with the highest impact; and share best practices for cooperation with successful technology transfer case studies in manufacturing and construction industry technological innovation, and technology for education. This activity seeks to set the stage for a collaboration framework with multi owners for critical technology development, management, maintenance, and services."
 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Economy - Telecom Ministry: No special phone network installations in Tarshish
 

Tue 25/10/2011 18:36

NNA - 25/10/2011 - No special communication network installations exist in the Metn region of Tarshish, an official report by an inspection team belonging to the Telecom Ministry affirmed.

After a dispute amongst people of Tarshish over Hizbullah's alleged attempt to excavate in the public properties of Tarshish for the purpose of installing a communication network underground, the Telecom Ministry dispatched on Tuesday an inspection team to find out no violations in this concern.

The report verified that works carried out in Tarshish were legal in line with the optical fibers installation national project.
A.M>

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Economy - Crops protection conference in Beirut
 

Tue 25/10/2011 17:22

NNA - 25/10/2011 - Agriculture Minister Hussein Hajj Hassan patronized on Tuesday at Bristol hotel in Beirut the fourth regional conference for the International Union for Crops Protection that was organized by Crop Life organization.

The event was attended by the head of said organization Rudolph Gayer, 31 representatives of Arab and African countries and others.

The conference focuses on the exchange of opinions among attendees on food production safety.

Hajj Hassan gave a word highlighting the necessity of promoting agricultural legislations and activating scientific researches in the field of agriculture.
 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Economy - GLC calls for global wage adjustment on all salaries' types
 

Tue 25/10/2011 13:56

NNA - 25/10/2011 - General Labor Confederation executive bureau headed by Ghassan Ghosn said Tuesday that salary adjustment measures should englobe all wage types in a bid to preserve equality between different factions of workers.

"The GLC bureau is following up closely the application of the ministerial council's resolutions and the ratification of the decrees touching on wage adjustment," the GLC statement said, highlighting the importance of increasing social services and transportations fees to 10000 LBP per day.
D.K.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Economy - (Update) Electricity Employees Syndicate: we will take a final decision regarding strike tomorrow
 

Mon 24/10/2011 19:56


NNA - 24/10/2011 "Electricite Du Liban" Employees Syndicate Executive Council announced that it will meet on Tuesday morning at 8.00a.m. to take a final decision regarding its scheduled strike, National News Agency Correspondent reported.
The strike was scheduled to take place tomorrow.
The Council, chaired by Charbel Saleh, met on Monday afternoon with Prime Minister Najib Mikati, where they raised with him relevant Syndicate demands, who duly promised to include them on Cabinet agenda for 2/11/2011.
 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Economy - Electricity Employees Syndicate postpones its strike
 

Mon 24/10/2011 18:19

NNA - 24/10/2011 Lebanon Electricity Employees Syndicate postponed its scheduled strike for tomorrow till after Nov 2, 2011, National News Agency Correspondent reported.
The postponement came in the wake of the Syndicate's meeting with Prime Minister Najib Mikati.
------------L.Y

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Economy - Hajj Hassan calls to raise agro quality level
 

Mon 24/10/2011 16:16

NNA - 24/10/2011 - Minister of Agriculture, Hussein Hajj Hassan, on Monday highlighted the obligation that political powers, state administrations, civil society, and municipalities join efforts so as to draw agro guiding plans to promote the level of quality.

He called to bring these plans into effect for the benefit and welfare of all the citizens and parties.

Speaking during his meeting with a delegation of the Free Patriotic Movement in Zahle District today, the Minister confirmed that the Lebanese army had finalized the dossier of snow blizzard damages.

He said this dossier had been referred to the Higher Relief Committee.


R.A.H.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Economy - Safadi meets Fayad, Greek envoy
 

Mon 24/10/2011 14:55

NNA - 24/10/2011 - Minister of Finance, Mohammad Safadi, on Monday discussed the 2012 state budget draft with Member of Parliament Ali Fayad.

The meeting also featured high on the current political situation.

Safadi later met with the Greek ambassador to Lebanon, Panos Kalogeropoulos, who came on a farewell visit upon the end of his diplomatic mission in Beirut.


R.A.H.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Economy - NTUC inform Nahhas of raise rejection
 

Mon 24/10/2011 13:10

NNA - 24/10/2011 A delegation of the National Trade Union Confederation (NTUC) visited Monday Labor Minister and voiced their rejection to the raise on salaries.

Their call for reconsidering the raise decision was based on the International and Arab agreements which define wages and remuneration equity.

The delegation also solicited Nahhas to open the ceiling of raises for all society segments, boost scholarships, and limit Benzene canister price.


L.W.
 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved

 


 


Economy - Safadi/Sahnawi discussing economic issues
 

Sun 23/10/2011 13:05

NNA - 23/10/2011 - Finance Minister, Mohammad Safadi, discussed Sunday at his ministry office with Telecommunication Minister, Nikola Sahnawi, issues relevant the various Lebanese economic sectors and matters related to joint finance and telecom work. Both ministers reportedly agreed on coordinating efforts to fund municipalities and explore best ways for investments. Discussions also focused on the unfolding domestic and regional developments on both scenes.

G.G/R.K

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Economy - Minister Nahhas lecturing on labor and medical coverage
 

Sat 22/10/2011 15:33

NNA - 22/10/2011 - Minister of Labor, Charbel Nahhas, has been lecturing about labor and medical coverage for workers upon an invitation extended to him by the Aounist Trend at the Lady's theater in Hadath.

Deputies Hekmat Dib and Alain Aoun along with a number of mukhtars and municipal heads were invited.

Taking the word, Minister Nahhas listed tasks awaiting his ministry including the reorganization of foreign Labor activities in Lebanon. He called for proper use of foreign investments suggesting what he termed as allocation of capital in exchange of labor force services.

He favored the employment of women in order to make up for current deficiencies and spoke about recession in production as part of a major regional crisis. He criticized the financial performance of previous governments describing their bad intervention as having contributed to a disfigured growth in mechanisms of various production sectors.

The Minister cited the instance of servicing of the public debt which amounted in billions of US dollars.

Nahhas concluded that the main task of the state is to create further job opportunities in order to attain a degree of social balance. He disclosed a blue-print for reform submitted to the cabinet and subsequently turned down by both workers and bosses and this is what prevented substantial wage hikes he said.

G.G. /P.BC.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Economy - Nahas reviews economic trade with envoys
 

Fri 21/10/2011 15:43

NNA - 21/10/2011 - Minister of Trade and Economy, Nicolas Nahas, on Friday discussed with the Argentinean ambassador to Lebanon the means to boost bilateral ties and exchange between both countries.

The pair also agreed to prop up the level of mutual visits of businessmen.

Lebanon's economic role was as well part of the two men's talks today.

A delegation of insurance brokers later visited Nahas with talks touching on the sector's challenges and situation.

The Minister also received a delegation of Harvard University headed by Habib Zoghbi, with whom he tackled the current economic situation in the country and the government's work in the present stage.

Italy's ambassador to Lebanon had later been to Nahas's office to review with him bilateral economic relations.



R.A.H.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Economy - Nahhas calls for joining efforts to address challenges
 

Thu 20/10/2011 21:18


NNA - 20/10/2011 Trade and Economy Minister Nicholas Nahhas called on businessmen to join efforts in finding outlets and solutions to the current challenges facing the nation.
Nahhas was speaking during a ceremony held on Thursday by Lebanese Businessmen Union in honor of Minister Nahhas, at "Le Maillont" Restaurant-Aschrafieh, attended by a number of economic and trade dignitaries and concerned officials.
Nahhas also disclosed that the government is currently preparing an economic program aiming at ensuring environments conducive for production and businesses as well providing incentives to institutions and polarizing investments.
---------------L.Y

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


 


Economy - Safadi sees salaries increase failure down to time shortage
 

Thu 20/10/2011 19:47

NNA - 20/10/2011 - Minister of Finance, Mohammad Safadi, said the government fell short of time given by the GLC to finalize a better formula for wages adjustment and salaries increase.

Safadi lectured on the 2012 state budget draft during a discussion panel organized by Beirut Merchants Association on Thursday, in cooperation with Banque Libano-Francaise.

"If the GLC had given more time to the government, wages increase issue would have been studied within a comprehensive and all-inclusive basket prone to curb inflation hike," he said.

As stressing that the Ministry of Finance was stanch to control budget deficit, which he said it was down to the four-billion-dollar public debt, Safadi underscored that the government was determined to guarantee universal health coverage to all the Lebanese.

He explained that the 2012 public budget included investment expenditures relevant to infrastructure, and that the government was on track to building the social security network, fighting poverty, and improving the condition of deprived households and those of limited income.

He revealed that the government had decided to form the higher committee to administrate public debt and that the Finance Ministry had, for the first time, ventured into the activation of the public debt directorate.


R.A.H.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved

 

 


 

 

 

 


Politics - Cooperation reinforcement tops Charbel, Gyan talks
 

Thu 20/10/2011 14:14

NNA - 20/10/2011 Interior Minister took up Thursday in France boosting bilateral cooperation between French and Lebanese Interior Ministries, during his meeting with his French Counterpart Claude Gyan.

Charbel also engaged with Gyan in talks on French aids to the Lebanese Internal Security Forces (ISF), civil defense department, and general security.

Talks also focused on the previously signed protocol between both countries regarding combating crimes, terrorism, drugs and human trafficking, and combating internet-spread crimes which have been developing fast lately, as Charbel stated.

Furthermore, the meeting between both Ministers aimed at tackling the necessity of activating and developing the Beirut Airport security training center.
"This center ought to be an integral part of the Airport security system," he said.

Biometric passports issue also topped talks of Ministers whereby Charbel conveyed Lebanese government's willingness to adopt them soon considering what it embraces of information impossible to falsify.

A biometric passport, also known as an e-passport or ePassport, is a combined paper and electronic passport that contains biometric information that can be used to authenticate the identity of travelers. It uses contactless smart card technology, including a microprocessor chip (computer chip) and antenna (for both power to the chip and communication) embedded in the front or back cover, or center page, of the passport.
The data stored electronically in the passport chip make it expensive and difficult to forge when all security mechanisms are fully and correctly implemented.


L.W.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Economy - Aridi: We work with no disparity
 

Thu 20/10/2011 13:05

NNA - 20/10/2011 Public Works and Transportation Minister said Thursday that uttered accusations change nothing and the Ministry works with no disparity between regions.

In his tour he held to inspect ongoing projects in Tripoli and surrounding areas, Minister Ghazi Aridi said main dossiers and projects have been concluded.

Affirming the disassociation of ongoing workshops from prevailing political atmosphere, Aridi said it is important that works be carried out in favor of Lebanese citizens.

Aridi voiced pride in the National Struggle Front stances, pertaining to the heated debate between him and FPM Ministers during the Cabinet session, and said some might not have enough expertise in political business as they might bear some interests they have the right to consider.

Also, the Minister said NSF holds good ties with Hezbollah as the joint statement of both parties said following Jumblatt and Nasrollah's meeting.


At another level, Aridi inspected works underway at the Palace of Justice.

L.W.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Economy - Nahas receives Syndical Coordination Committee delegation
 

Wed 19/10/2011 18:51

NNA - 19/10/2011 - Labor Minister Charbel Nahas received on Wednesday at his office a delegation of the Syndical Coordination Committee and discussed with it the cabinet's recent decision pertaining to wages hike.

Interviewed after the meeting, head of the Public Secondary Teachers league, Hanna Gharib, said they would escalate their protests against cabinet's decision to prevent its endorsement.

 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Economy - Safadi, WB delegation meet
 

Wed 19/10/2011 17:25

NNA - 19/10/2011 - Minister of Finance, Mohammad Safadi, on Wednesday met with a delegation of the World Bank over the social development program and the second part of the national program on fighting poverty.

Talks also touched on the means to improve social protection system.

Safadi also received a delegation of Euromoney magazine, who invited him to partake in the financial conference held by the magazine on forthcoming February 15 in Beirut.

A delegation of tobacco croppers' syndicates union also visited the Minister today.


R.A.H.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved

 


 

 


Economy - Aridi follows up on civil aviation affairs
 

Wed 19/10/2011 13:55

NNA - 19/10/2011 Transportation Minister Ghazi Aridi tackled Wednesday with Director of Civil Aviation Daniel El Haiby, the civil aviation affairs at the Beirut International Airport on both technical and administrative aspects.

Also, Aridi was briefed on newly developed radars equipment at the BIA during his meeting with a delegation of the American company Raytheon and its US-Canadian agent Tassoco, specialized in manufacturing airports' radars.

Furthermore, Aridi met with the honorary head of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Asaad Hteit.
The latter informed the Minister about technological progress of the newly installed environmental programs.

Aridi went over developmental affairs later on while meeting with former Deputy Jihad Samad and a delegation of Aimar town municipal councils.

L.W.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved

 

 

 

 


Economy - Labor Minister adamant to adjust salaries increase
 

Mon 17/10/2011 19:49

NNA - 17/10/2011 - Minister of Labor, Charbel Nahas, on Monday said he will appeal the cabinet to reconsider the decree on wages adjustment, as private sectors have settled to engage in talks with the government again.

A delegation of Lebanon's economic bodies, headed by former Minister Adnan Qassar, informed Nahas today of their will to return to dialogue with the cabinet over a week-old decision to raise salaries, which earned the private sector's stern opposition.

The cabinet agreed late last Tuesday on a last-minute deal to increase the minimum wage to LL 700,000 from the current LL 500,000 and raise by LL 200,000 the wages of those earning less than LL 1 million and by LL 300, 000 those who earn between LL 1 million and LL 1.8 million. The decision however averted a general strike called forth by the General Labor Confederation, for the day after.

Speaking to reporters following the meeting at the Minister's office, Qassar said the Ministry of Finance must take part in related parleys as public budget and Treasury couldn't be saddled with pounding deficit and expenditures burden.

"We call for dialogue to reconsider the increase decision, which neither us nor the GLC have accepted," he said.

Nahas pledged to relay the economic bodies' position to the cabinet and to ask the Ministers to re-venture into the recommendations bill within a more-enabled Price Index Committee.

Most of the Ministers Okayed last week's decision, while Nahas, along with the other Ministers of the Free Patriotic Movement, objected to it.



R.A.H.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Economy - Nahhas, GLC discuss Cabinet wage decree
 

Mon 17/10/2011 19:39

NNA - 17/10/2011 Labor Minister Charbel Nahhas met on Monday afternoon at Ministry office with a delegation of General Labor Confederation (GLC) to discuss Cabinet's recent wage decree.
The Cabinet approved last Wednesday a decree to raise minimum wages from LL500.000 to LL700.000, wages less than LL1 million by LL200.000, and wages between LL1 million and LL1.800.000 by LL300.000.
With respect to wages' exceeding LL1.800.000 which was not included in salaries' raise adjustment, GLC Head Ghassan Ghosn said he demanded from Minister Nahhas to set Cabinet decree right with respect to this issue through filling up legal flaws.
Employees earning salaries exceeding LL1.800.000 who were not included in salaries' adjustment constitute 15%, Ghosn said.
Ghosn underlined the importance of the principle of justice among all workers, whereby all laborers of the private and public sector are equal before the law with regards to wages' increase.
Nahhas, for his part, said that wages' decree shall be issued within days as approved by the Cabinet, saying the Ministry is working on drafting its content to be signed and published later. He said that though Free Patriotic Movement ministers objected on this project, each Minister was obligated to abide by it in line with government solidarity principle after its endorsement.
---------------L.Y

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Economy - Nahhas: Reinforcing Insurance is of government and private sector's responsibility
 

Mon 17/10/2011 15:40

NNA - 17/10/2011 Representing Premier Najib Mikati, Labor Minister inaugurated Monday the 2011 Arab Forum of Insurance Regulatory Commissions (AFIRC) conference at the Phoenicia hotel.

The conference, held in presence of Finance Minister, Interior Minister's representative, and other eminent figures, aimed at drawing attention to the positive upshots the cooperation initiative between regulators and insurers bear on the insurance sector in the MENA region.

In his word delivered on behalf of Mikati, Nahhas said insurance sector is considered to be of a financial aspect and part of the social network especially when related to medical and unemployment insurances.

"Insurance industry is the Middle East financial pillar in the securities and banking domains," Nahhas said and added that having this industry achieve its goals is of the private and public sectors' responsibility.

Speaking about the MENA progress during the past ten years, he said it is important that adequate progress be guaranteed so that markets would realize their potentials with both quality and quantity services.

"When governments are responsible for developing insurance markets, the private sector, in turn, is answerable for obligatory insurances," he said.

Concluding his word, Nahhas said competitiveness is the core of any trade transaction and it is worth full attention however, he said, open dialogue between insurers and regulators can be decisive during the development phase.


L.W.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Economy - Safadi follows up French Development Agency's projects in Lebanon
 

Mon 17/10/2011 15:10

NNA - 17/10/2011 - Finance Minister, Muhammad Safadi, tackled Monday with the Director of the French Development Agency the annual report of the projects executed in Lebanon with the support of the agency.
D.K.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Economy - Sabounjian Touring South
 

Sat 15/10/2011 15:43

NNA - 15/10/2011 Minister of Industry Vreij Sabounjian, stressed the neo-liberal economic character of the Lebanese economy under the Miqati government. Albeit, it must remain free from all sorts of financial restraints. His utterances came during his touring of South Lebanon today on an inspection of facilities and public utilities in the regions of Tyr and Zahrani.

Despite the fact that the economy was far from being a command one, the minister perceived a need for certain state intervention which he termed "guidance or rationalization" of the economy. Such a mixed economy would bring about success prosperity for Lebanon.

G.G./R.K.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved

 

 


Economy - Abboud, Efram concur on dangers of wage hike
 

Fri 14/10/2011 21:05

NNA - 14/10/2011 Tourism Minister Fadi Abboud participated Friday in industrialists meeting in Dbayeh, with consensus on dealing with utmost care and wisdom with wage hike issue.

The cabinet increased Tuesday the minimum wage to LL700, 000 from LL500, 000. It also raised by LL200, 000 the wages of workers earning less than One million LL and by LL300, 000 those earning between one million and LL1.8 million.

President of the Association of Industrialists, Nehme Efram, warned that this move would lead to further collapse in Lebanese economy.
Minister Abboud also worried about unplanned moves in said issue. "It is the duty of the General Confederation of Lebanese Workers (CGTL) to find jobs for workers, and not to increase the luck of those who are already lucky."

All attendees at the posh Le Royal Hotel meeting agreed that further talks should be held among CGTL, industrialists and economic bodies.

R.Z.
 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Economy - Bassil: Budgetary discussions holdup inexcusable
 

Fri 14/10/2011 19:10

NNA - 14/10/2011 Energy and Water Minister Gibran Bassil refused any delay in budgetary discussions pending a decision over financing Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL), at a press conference Friday.

Funding of the STL probing 2005 assassination of PM Rafik Hariri was listed as one of the articles of the ministerial statement. Voices opposing said funding were ascending lately, particularly from March 8 Camp.

"Any impediment to budgetary talks is unjustifiable, particularly if linked to the Tribunal issue," Bassil said, "issues must be discussed in succession, including the Tribunal, which is one of many articles which are of higher importance."

The recent discovery of oil and natural gas in Lebanese waters began a wave of dispute over marine border demarcation, particularly with the Israeli government. Bassil asserted that the subject was finalized with a decree from the Lebanese side, "We will not give up one inch of our border."

On the water front, Bassil was optimistic that the Awali dam project would be the first step in a comprehensive project which will offer water to the entire country.

R.Z.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Economy - Hajj Hassan: population increase not related to food security challenges
 

Fri 14/10/2011 18:27

NNA - 14/10/2011 - Agriculture Minister Hussein Hajj Hassan said population increase is not the main reason for augmenting food security challenges or any rise in price.

The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) celebrated on Friday the World Food Day which concurred with FAO's 66th anniversary, under the auspices of Agriculture Minister Hussein Hajj Hassan, at the Engineers Syndicate in Bir Hassan/ Beirut.

The Minister said in a word delivered during the event that the increase in the population density isn't the main cause of food security challenges augmentation nor the rise in food price. After all, he explained productivity increased but prices didn't lower down.

Hajj Hassan wondered why farmers don't benefit from selling their products as much as food commercial institutions, knowing that consumers purchase food products in high costs.

A.M./P.BC.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Economy - Nahhas, Folias discuss economic relations
 

Fri 14/10/2011 18:09

NNA - 14/10/2011 - Trade and Economy Minister, Nicholas Nahhas, conferred with Chamber of Greek-Arab Commerce Head, Christos Folias, over bolstering economic relations between both countries.

The delegation, headed by former Greek Minister Folias, hoped for the improvement of bilateral relations, and pointed out to the necessity of establishing joint projects with the Lebanese.

Among Nahhas's Friday itinerants were also International Bank Representatives and a delegation of Companies and Billboards Syndicate.
 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Economy - Agriculture Minister discusses ties development with Denmark
 

Fri 14/10/2011 14:52

NNA - 14/10/2011 - Minister of Agriculture, Hussein Hajj Hassan, on Friday discussed the means to boot ties with Denmark, with the Danish ambassador to Lebanon, Jan Top Christensen.
 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved

 


Economy - (Correction) Nahas receives delegation of democratic change movement
 

Fri 14/10/2011 14:11

NNA - 14/10/2011 - Labor Minister Charbel Nahas received on Friday at his office a delegation of the National Movement for Democratic Change, headed by Sayid Franjieh. Talks reportedly featured high on the wages increase issue and its problems.

The movement called for correcting the mistakes resulting from the latest cabinet's decision regarding wages.
 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Economy - Nahas receives delegation democratic change movement
 

Fri 14/10/2011 14:02

NNA - 14/10/2011 - Labor Minister Charbel Nahas received on Friday at his office a delegation of the National Movement for Democratic Change, headed by Sayid Franjieh. Talks reportedly featured high on the wages increase issue and its problems.

The movement called for correcting the mistakes resulting from the latest cabinet's decision regarding wages.
 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Economy - Abboud, Layyoun tackle holding a Lebanese fair in Geneva
 

Fri 14/10/2011 13:11

NNA - 14/10/2011 Tourism and Culture Ministers tackled Friday the possibility of holding a Lebanese exhibition in Geneva, Switzerland.

During their meeting, Abboud and Layyoun agreed on the necessity of cooperation to present new Lebanese antiquity pieces in the 2012 Lebanese exhibition.

Also, both men deemed it advantageous to also hold a Lebanese Week there so as to show the country's tourism aspects and characteristics.

L.W.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Economy - Kenaan: government must pay free schools their dues
 

Thu 13/10/2011 19:20

NNA - 13/10/2011 - Deputy Ibrahim Kenaan said the government must pay the free schools their dues, in order not to suffer more.

The Parliamentarian Finance and Budget Commission held on Thursday 10:30 a.m. a meeting at the House of Parliament, under the chairmanship of MP Ibrahim Kenaan, from the Bloc of Reform and Change. The meeting was attended by MPs Ahmad Fatfat, Jamal Jarah, Abbas Hashem and others.

Kenaan said the government must allocate a sum to free schools so as to pay them their dues in accordance with decree no. 2358 issued on December 13, 1971; otherwise, these schools would be saddled with a more deteriorating situation.

A.M.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Economy - Safadi: No additional fees on Benzene
 

Thu 13/10/2011 17:51


NNA - 13/10/2011 - Finance Minister Muhammad Safadi on Thursday denied that the government was to impose additional fees on the Value-Added Taxes (V.A.T.).

In a talk to the Voice of Lebanon: Voice of Freedom and Dignity radio, Safadi categorically denied any intention by Mikati-led cabinet to impose additional fees on V.A.T., dubbing this misleading news as "political fabrication" put in newspapers.

Safadi wondered at the political attack on his proposal suggesting a 2% rise on V.A.T - from 10% to 12% - stressing that this 2% increase would go to serve the Lebanese public, notably those poor or of limited income.

Safadi voiced readiness to withdraw his proposal if politicians would reject this increase that helps provide universal health coverage and support directly the livelihood of citizens.

 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved



 

 

 


Economy - Safadi, WB delegation meet
 

Thu 13/10/2011 17:47

NNA - 13/10/2011 - Minister of Finance, Mohammad Safadi, on Thursday met with delegation of the World Bank over the importance of financial flows to boost growth in Lebanon.

Separately, the Minister chaired a meeting for real estates' register secretaries, who informed him if the situation within their administrations and directorates. Safadi gave instructions to facilitate and speed up formalities.


R.A.H.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Economy - Bilateral economic ties top talks between Qassar, Oviedo
 

Thu 13/10/2011 16:56

NNA - Bilateral ties on the economic level featured high on talks between former Minister Adnan Qassar and the candidate for Paraguayan Presidency, Lino Cesar Oviedo.

Trade, Industry and Agriculture Chambers Union head, former Minister Adnan Qassar, received on Thursday at his office the National Party for Patriotic Principles head, the candidate for Paraguayan Presidency, Lino Cesar Oviedo.

Oviedo informed the host of his interest in enhancing bilateral economic ties between Paraguay and Lebanon in terms of boosting the mutual commercial and investment exchange.
 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Economy - Aridi follows up diplomatic, developmental affairs
 

Thu 13/10/2011 15:17

NNA - 13/10/2011 - Minister of Public Works and Transportation, Ghazi Aridi, on Thursday met with the newly appointed Emirati ambassador to Lebanon, Youssof Ali Osseimi, over bilateral ties.

He later received Kuwaiti ambassador, Abdul Aal Qinai, with whom he tackled most recent developments and bilateral relations.

On a different note, the Minister followed up on an array of developmental affairs, whereby he met with Member of Parliament Hassan Fadlallah over the general situation and vital projects in Bint Jbeil district.

MPs Farid Khazen and Samer Saade and former Deputy Camile Khoury also visited Aridi today and presented him with a series of developmental demands in a number of regions.

The Minister later discussed the possibility to expand Al-Fanar complex affiliated to the Lebanese university with Drs. Elias Hashem and Anthony Khoury.

He also held a meeting with Urbanism General Director, Elias Tawil.




R.A.H.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved
























 


 


Economy - Sabounjian: industrial certificates do not substitute mandatory industrial permits
 

Thu 13/10/2011 15:16

NNA - 13/10/2011 - Industry Minister Vreij Sabounjian confirmed on Thursday that industrial certificates do not substitute in any way the mandatory industrial permits.

Sabounjian told his guest Massoud Al-Ashkar that it is necessary to register the businesses which hold no permits at the Ministry of Industry, in a bid to form a detailed dossier which allows them to benefit from the "industrial certificate."
D.K.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


 

Economy - Canada keen on developing ties with Lebanon
 

Thu 13/10/2011 14:49

NNA - 13/10/2011 - Canadian ambassador, Hilary Childs Adams, said her country was willing to promote the level of trade exchange with Lebanon and boost capacities in both private and public sectors.

The ambassador on Thursday visited Minister of Economy and Trade, Nicolas Nahas, who relayed the government's priorities for next year.

He highlighted the necessity to assist small and medium enterprises and prop up sectors prone to create new job opportunities for the Lebanese youth.

Earlier today, the Minister met with the Tunisian ambassador to Lebanon, Mohammad Fawzi Ballout, over bilateral economic ties.




R.A.H.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Economy - Economic Bodies: wage increase decision unfair

 

Wed 12/10/2011 19:03

NNA - 12/10/2011 - The Economic Bodies said the recent decision pertaining to wages increase decision is unfair.

The Economic Bodies convened on Wednesday afternoon at the Trade, Industry and Agriculture Chamber of Beirut and Mount Lebanon, under the chairmanship of former Minister Adnan Qassar.

The meeting criticized recent governmental decision related to increasing the minimum wage of employees in the public and private sectors, saying it embodied negative features.

"The wage increase decision project is unfair and does not take into consideration the worries shown by the bodies during their meeting with Lebanese President Michel Sleiman, Prime Minister Najib Mikati and House Speaker Nabih Berri," said the statement issued by the bodies in the wake of the meeting.

"The decision does not even take into regards the number issued by the Central Statistic Department in connection with the inflation rate since the latest wage increase in 2008, knowing that this number is solely scientific and right and should be the basis for any likely increase," the statement added.
--------------A.M

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Economy - Safadi reviews various matters with itinerants
 

Wed 12/10/2011 18:12

NNA - 12/10/2011 - Minister of Finance, Mohammad Safadi, met general director of Lebanese Reggie for Tobacco and Tombacs, Nassif Seklawi who briefed him over the administration conditions.
Moreover, Council for Development & Reconstruction (CDR) discussed with Safadi issues related to the council's work.

Former Minister Salim Wardeh also visited Safadi today.
 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Economy - Hajj Hassan launches community strengthening project
 

Wed 12/10/2011 17:53

NNA - 12/10/2011 - Agriculture Minister Hussein Hajj Hassan launched on Wednesday at MOA the project pertaining to strengthening local communities and enhancing means of living. The project is concerned about boosting agricultural industries in the north, south and Bekaa.

The event was attended by former Deputy Michael Daher, Industry Ministry Director General Dany Gedoun and others. It is to note that this project is financed by the Italian cooperation bureau and is executed by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO).

Hajj Hassan gave a word stressing on the importance of complying with the food safety measures without which factories or industries have no good reputation. He also highlighted the importance of training farmers and Coops on the procedures of marketing, based on the demand and supply axis.
 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Economy - Syndical coordination body sees wages adjustment wretched, rejected
 

Wed 12/10/2011 17:13

NNA - 12/10/2011 - The Syndical Coordination Body on Wednesday rejected the cabinet decision, which it termed as "wretched," on wages adjustment, agreed upon last night.

He called the government to retract from said decision, adopt scientific and objectives bases, and take into consideration inflation ratio which exceeded 100%.

It also called for a general assembly to discuss many measures, among which the general strike in all public and private schools next Wednesday, a sit-in before the Grand Serail, the preparation for a national syndical conference and contacts with the Ministers and parliamentary blocs to tackle the dangers of the newly adopted decision.




R.A.H.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Economy - Tourism affairs highlight talks between Abboud, Roknabadi
 

Wed 12/10/2011 16:55

NNA - 12/10/2011 - Tourism Minister, Fady Abboud, received on Wednesday at his office the Iranian Ambassador to Lebanon, Ghazanfar Roknabadi, and discussed with him bilateral ties, notably on the tourism level.

After the visit, Roknabadi said that talks were relevant to activating the tourism agreement between Lebanon and Iran as well as to facilitating obtaining visas for Lebanese and Iranian citizens.

Asked about the U.S. accusations against Iran of attempting to assassinate the Saudi Ambassador in Washington, Roknabadi said Iran categorically denied these accusations, indicating that the relation between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Islamic Republic of Iran has been good and based upon mutual respect.
 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved






 

Economy - Nahhas, Hajj Hassan tackle wheat sprouts' distribution
 

Wed 12/10/2011 14:14

NNA - 12/10/2011 Ministers of Trade and Economy and Agriculture, Nicolas Nahhas and Hussein Hajj Hassan, held Wednesday a joint press conference during which they tackled the issue of wheat sprouts' distribution in Lebanese markets.

Both Ministers also engaged with talks on controlling milk products' prices in light of salaries' raise the government approved.

Nahhas affirmed that the Ministry shall double efforts to avoid any prices' increase.

Hajj Hassan, in turn, said this meeting aims at launching wheat grains distribution process on farmers, calling on them to present their demands before the Bekaa, North Lebanon, and South agricultural associations.


L.W.
 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Economy - Sabounjian encourages Canadians to invest in Lebanon, vice versa
 

Wed 12/10/2011 13:58
NNA - 12/10/2011 - Industry Minister Vreij Sabounjian tackled industrial ties with the Canadian Ambassador to Lebanon, Hilary Childs Adams, who paid him a visit on Wednesday at his ministerial office.

Both sides also discussed the possibility of turning Lebanon into a developed exchange center for Canadian products supported by Canadian investment projects in Lebanon.

Sabounjian confirmed in this regard that many Lebanese businessmen are ready to activate such partnerships and cooperation between the two countries.

On the other hand, Sabounjian highlighted the importance of encouraging Canada which encloses a wide Lebanese Diaspora to facilitate exchange transactions with Lebanon which products are known for their high quality.
D.K.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved
 

 









 

Economy - Solution formula for wages issue
 

Tue 11/10/2011 20:33
NNA - 11/10/2011 - A solution formula for the wages increase issue was reached on Tuesday by increasing 200 thousand Lebanese Pounds for employees earning between 500 thousand Lebanese Pounds and 1 million L.L. per month, and 300 thousand L.L. for those earning more 1 million L.L..

The formula came after negotiations held at the ministerial council between Public Health Minister, Ali Hassan Khalil, and the General Labor Confederation over said issue.

Accordingly, the strike which was decided for tomorrow by GLC will be cancelled.
 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Economy - Nahas for achieving political stability to enhance economy
 

Tue 11/10/2011 18:22

NNA - 11/10/2011 - Economy and Trade Minister Nicholas Nahas highlighted on Tuesday the necessity of achieving political and social stability to enhance the national economy.

The Distinction License Association held on Tuesday at La Posta restaurant in Ashrafieh an honorary ceremony for Minister Nahas in presence of the head of said association, Charles Arbid and a number of dignitaries.

Nahas gave a word during the event, calling for reaching political and social stability so as to give an impetus to the local economy.

 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved





 

Economy - Abboud, Cumba discuss tourism affairs
 

Tue 11/10/2011 16:47

NNA - 11/10/2011 - Tourism Minister, Fadi Abboud, on Tuesday met with Czech Ambassador to Lebanon, Svatopluk Cumba, over bilateral economic and tourism relations.

Cumba, who visited the Minister at his ministerial office, extended him an invitation to visit Czech. Talks also tackled ways to reactivate the tourism agreement between both countries.
 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved
 


Economy - Fuel Importers' Association: salaries increase engenders fuel prices' modification
 

Tue 11/10/2011 16:39

NNA - 11/10/2011 - The Fuel Importers Association's Head Maroun Shammas indicated on Tuesday that any salaries' increase will lead to a modification in oil resources' prices, as the country's fuel sector relies mainly on the labor force.

Shammas delivered a word in the wake of the urgent meeting held by the fuel oil sector's syndicates in Lebanon to discuss current problems, on top of which the potential wages increase.

Shammas explained that oil prices must be raised by the Energy and Water Ministry so as to compensate the extra costs due to salaries' increase.

Conferees finally called on the Energy and Water Ministry and the cabinet to take into account this fact so as to allow fuel importers and distributers to pursue their work properly.
D.K.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Economy - Safadi reveals budget draft to include increase of investment expenditures
 

Mon 10/10/2011 19:43

NNA - 10/10/2011 - Minister of Finance, Mohammad Safadi, revealed the 2012 public budget draft would include a substantial increase of investment-related expenditures, mainly as to infrastructure.

He said the Ministry was looking forward to establishing partnership between the public and private sectors on the level of infrastructure.

Commending the capacity of Lebanon's national economy to weather likely crises, owing to its immunity and flexibility, Safadi capitalized the necessity to keep endeavoring so as to set up a modern and more productive economy.

The Minister, representing Prime Minister Najib Mikati, made these remarks during the inauguration of the Mediterranean JP Morgan Conference, at Phoenicia Hotel on Monday.

Turning to the regional arena, he saw that current uprisings sweeping the Arab world were likely to veer the decades-aged political scene towards more openness and democracy. But he said that unemployment was the most jamming problem and that any reluctance in solving it would constitute a serious threat to the democratic process.

On a larger scale, Safadi expected the euro crisis to be mitigated soon, considering governments' awareness nowadays to opt for "the salvation package" rather than to be saddled with the costly option of crisis continuity.



R.A.H.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Economy - Cooperatives necessary to invigorate agricultural sector, says Hajj Hassan
 

Mon 10/10/2011 18:43

NNA - 10/10/2011 - Minister of Agriculture, Hussein Hajj Hassan, on Monday underscored the importance to set up cooperatives to invigorate agricultural sector especially that small farmers are nowadays incapable of boosting their productivity amid the current juncture.

He explained that it would have been unlikely for these farmers to replace the labor force with machines, had it not been for these cooperatives.

The Minister made these remarks during a meeting devoted to the development of cooperative work, organized by the Ministry of Agriculture and Al-Binaa Association, at the headquarters of Engineers Syndicate in Bir Hassan, in presence of FAO representative in Lebanon, Ali Momen.

Hajj Hassan underlined that the Ministry was ready to work to bolster agro projects, and reminded that the state and many other international organizations have funded some of these projects and that farmers could export their products via IDAL's Agroplus program.

He finally revealed that 350 inactive cooperatives have been thus far dissolved.



R.A.H.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Economy - Aridi, LU instructors tackle relevant issues
 

Mon 10/10/2011 17:18

NNA - 10/10/2011 Public Works and Transportation Minister Ghazi Aridi held on Monday a series of meetings centering on developmental affairs, whereby he met in this framework with a delegation of Lebanese University Full-time Instructors League chaired by Charbel Kfoury.
On emerging, Aridi said the meeting comes on the eve of Ministerial Council's session on Tuesday, relaying the League's readiness to hold a serious dialogue with the concerned educational bodies and officials.
"LU Instructors affirmed their commitment to the decision taken by the Cabinet by agreeing on the principle of salaries and degrees' adjustment, and holding dialogue for determining percentage", Aridi said after the meeting.
With respect to Ministry projects, Aridi affirmed that projects are proceeding in the entire Lebanese areas, voicing full commitment and responsibility in implementing all projects without any reluctance.
Kfoury for his part stressed the League's clinging to dialogue, disclosing contacts with the concerned authorities to reach a solution to their ordeal prior to the holding of instructors' scheduled sit-in tomorrow at Riad Solh Square.
On the other hand, Aridi met with Deputy Boutros Harb accompanied by a delegation of Tannourine Municipality, where they boarded developmental issues related to Batroun Caza, especially Batroun- Eddeh Highway.
Aridi also met on Monday with former Minister Ziad Baroud and Deputy Naamatallah Abi Nasr.
---------------L.Y

NNA 2011 All rights reserved











 

Economy - Hajj Hassan says food security paramount priority
 

Mon 10/10/2011 15:00

NNA - 10/10/2011 - Minister of Agriculture, Hussein Hajj Hassan, said food security and safety were a paramount priority for the Ministry, along with subventions earmarked to small farmers.

"The Ministry of Agriculture drew a sector-based strategy," he explained.

The Minister made these remarks during his meeting with the Belgian ambassador to Lebanon, Colette Taquet, on Monday.

The pair reportedly tackled the means to boost bilateral ties.

Taquet also expressed willingness to help promote the Lebanese agro sector in a bid to grant agricultural products an added value through the expansion of biological agriculture.



R.A.H.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved










 

Economy - Nicholas: we oppose VAT increase
 

Mon 10/10/2011 14:56
NNA - 10/10/2011 - Deputy Nabil Nicholas affirmed on Monday his opposition to any increase in the Value Added Tax (VAT).

In a talk to Al-Manar TV, MP Nabil Nicholas, from the Bloc of Reform and Change, said BRC opposes any increase in the VAT, indicating that the current opposition to Mikati-led cabinet exerted enough efforts in the earlier years to fill their pockets instead of looking into daily life maters of citizens.

A.M./P.BC.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


 

Economy - Abboud: Debate over wages increase turns into auction and bazaar
 

Mon 10/10/2011 10:32

NNA - 10/10/2011 - Tourism Minister Fadi Abboud said that the ongoing debate over wages increase has shifted away from its scientific course and turned into public tender and bazaar.

Abboud stressed on Monday to "Voice of Lebanon" the necessity to create new comprehensive reform plan which includes National Social Security Fund, customs and ports, refusing any new taxes, proposing instead taxes on profits of real estate transactions.

The minister expected to find new solutions before Wednesday, pointing out that "the strike is a democratic right but demands should be reasonable".

Abboud hoped that Lebanese labors would prove their capability and convince all the Lebanese workers to take part in the strike.

A.A.M

NNA 2011 All rights reserved







 

Economy - Lebanon free of blood-diamonds, abides by KPCS
 

Sun 9/10/2011 13:12

NNA - 09/10/2011 Jewelers' Syndicate in Lebanon met with a UN delegation Sunday, which confirmed that Lebanon does not deal with blood diamonds and is fully abiding by Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS).

KPCS was introduced by United Nations General Assembly in 2003 to prevent diamond sales from financing rebellious movements. The certification scheme aimed at preventing blood diamonds from entering the mainstream rough diamond market. It was set up to assure consumers that by purchasing diamonds they were not financing war and human rights abuses.

The delegation conducted an investigation into ties between Lebanon and the Ivory Coast, which was banned from KPCS after numerous breaches of the international resolution.

R.Z.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Economy - Khawli: no to Price Index proposals!
 

Sun 9/10/2011 12:44

NNA - 09/10/2011 - Boss of the Workers' Union Syndicate of Lebanon, Maroun Khawli, rejected out-of-hand proposals put by the Price Index arguing that its unintelligibility needed code-deciphering instead.

Having met with colleagues in the various workers' unions at the House of the Laborer in Jal el-Dib, he told them that the Price Index trespassed its prescribed powers and limits accusing it also of failure to deal with effecting pay raises for the workers.

Khawli described Price Index as being an inapt body incapable of forwarding feasible suggestions to deal with the high cost of living. He went as far as accusing Price Index of playing into the hands of the government in a bid to break the workers' strike.

He also accused Prime Minister of reluctance in dealing seriously with just demands for pay-raise. He cited Mikati's meeting yesterday with leading economic and financial magnates with whom he shared their rejection of any substantial pay-raise as a flagrant example.

He added that Mikati was applying pressure on trade unions which would eventually aggravate matters further. Khawli envisaged in workers resorting to their constitutional rights in applying pressure on the government a sole mean for securing their rights.

He concluded that workers' rights could only be achieved through strikes, demonstrations, and the sit-in decided next Wednesday. He specifically mentioned the central march of Tripoli with workers syndicates determined to go as far as laying siege to the Prime Minister's house where they would stage an open sit-in till all of their demands were met.

G.G./P.BC.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Economy - Finance Ministry extending banking loans
 

Sat 8/10/2011 16:51

continued extension of capital loans to banking enterprises in accordance with enacted laws and bylaws of the land.
 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Economy - Hajj Hasan to boost grain production
 

Sat 8/10/2011 14:19

NNA - 08/10/2011 - Agriculture Minister, Hussein Hajj Hasan, spoke about the necessity for boosting Lebanese grain output through mechanization and facing up to world market challenges.

Speaking at a press conference at Tal Aamara Agricultural Research Center, the Minister acknowledged the existence of considerable hurdles to augmenting wheat production. These were mainly administrative, financial and political.

He disclosed that the output of grain almost doubled between 700 to 1500 annually and that the earmarked target is 6500 tons.

Hajj Hasan added that the local consumption need of grain reached 300 000 tons whereas market needs would be met by importing a total of 500 000 tons. One factor that plays to the advantage of wheat growing are Lebanon's arable lands and adequate rainfalls.

The Minister however, concluded that reaching a state of nutritional security depends on a sound political decision coupling with adequate training of specialized cadres of experts and that this could be an inter-ministerial venture with Ministry of the Economy undertaking the building of wheat silos wherever they were needed.

G.G./P.BC.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Economy - NSSF supports labor's strike
 

Sat 8/10/2011 12:54
NNA - 08/10/2011 A meeting that took place Saturday between head of the General Labor Confederation (GLC) Ghassan Ghosn and a delegation of National Social Security Fund (NSSF) employees resulted in consensus on calls for rectifying salaries and protecting social security as well as participating in the strike which is scheduled to take place on 12 of this month.

R.Z.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Economy - Tyr associations angry at generators' dues
 

Sat 8/10/2011 12:17

NNA - 08/10/2011 - Angry Tyr "people's association" rejected out-of-hand proposed hikes in electricity generators' dues describing them as tantamount to trespassing on their security and that if their children. The people's committees and associations met at Tyr municipality in presence of local Amal and Hizbullah representatives.

They brought to their attention yesterday's unrest in Tyr against the backdrop of arbitrary hikes in electricity generators' dues. They told party representatives that the situation became intolerable and pleaded with the Ministry of Energy to intervene and do something, otherwise; they would resort to escalation like demonstrating and staging sit-ins.

Tyr Municipal Head, Hasan Dbouk, while backing them all the way warned against "fifth column meddling." People's association Representatives demanded that Energy Ministry and municipality take concrete measures deemed necessary for securing the wellbeing of their children and Tyr as a whole.

The municipal head however, rejected the idea of demonstrations describing overnight leaflets calling for demonstrations today as the work of "bats of the night."

G.G./P.BC.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


 

Economy - Price Index to raise minimum wage
 

Sat 8/10/2011 11:27
NNA - 08/10/2011 The outcome of Price Index meeting Friday, chaired by Labour Minister Charbel Nahas, proposed increasing the minimum wage from 500 thousand Lebanese Liras (LL) to 750 thousand LL, with an increase of 20% to be added at a later stage, reaching up to 1.5 million LL.

The General Labour Confederation (GLC) boycotted said meeting in protest against proposed increase in Value Added Tax (VAT) from 10% to 12%, suggested by Finance Minister Mohammad Safadi. Minister Safadi had also recommended added fees to already inflated gasoline prices.

Price Index offered full health insurance for resident Lebanese, funded by state budget. This insurance aimed at benefiting even retired employees above the age of 64.

Finally, foreign workers would have their work conditions organized and sorted out fairly.

R.Z.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Economy - Nahas against increase in taxes, prices
 

Fri 7/10/2011 21:42
NNA- 07/10/2011 - Minister of Labour Charbel Nahas chaired Friday's Price Index meeting in the presence of representatives of different sectors and the obvious absence of those of the General Labor Confederation (GCL), whereby he shored up people's demands to stop any tax increase.

GCL announced Thursday its decision to boycott Price Index meetings in protest against 2012 budget proposed by Finance Minister Mohammed Safadi; a proposal outlining, among other things, an increase in VAT and gasoline prices.

Nahas, who spoke after the meeting, said that "wage policy should not be limited to the minimum wage."

He added that the Price Index proposed a wage increase of 20%, to be followed by steps to ensure full medical coverage to all Lebanese, with the cancellation of social security contributions that will be replaced by another wage increase of 9 to 10%.

However, the Minister pointed out that these measures should not be accompanied by increase in prices or taxes.
 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved











 

Economy - Sabonjian tours Berj Hammoud factories
 

Fri 7/10/2011 18:26

NNA - 7/10/2011 Industry Minister Freij Sabonjian regarded Northern Metn area, notably Berj Hammoud, as an exemplary industrial zone, marked by distinctive innovation and skillfulness.
Sabonjian toured on Friday Berj Hammoud area, to have a closer look at the present conditions of factories and industrialists, accompanied by Deputy Hagob Pakradonian and Berj Hammoud Municipality Head Antranik Masrelian.
Sabonjian sounded industrialists on the ongoing of work at their respective factories, expressing optimism in a promising future for the industrial sector in Lebanon.
"You [industrialists] constitute a crucial part of Lebanese production cycle linked to world markets", Sabonjian said, expressing awareness of challenges facing industrialists notably high cost of production and competitiveness.
---------------L.Y

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Economy - Nahas underscores Indians' IT expertise
 

Fri 7/10/2011 14:02
NNA - 7/10/2011 - Economy and Trade Minister Nicolas Nahas highlighted on Friday the importance of benefiting from the Indians' expertise in the field of IT, during his meeting with the Indian Ambassador to Lebanon Rafi Tabar.

Both men tackled economic ties and means to boost investment and reactivate expertise exchange.

Nahas explained to the Ambassador the activities executed by the Ministry, particularly in creating job opportunities for medium and small enterprises.

Tabar, for his part, informed the Minister of the efforts exerted by the Lebanese-Indian relations development association (ALDIR), focusing on the joint conference to be held under the patronage of Nahas on October 14 at M?venpick hotel.

Separately, Nahas received the Mill owners association in Lebanon, with whom he discussed the oat industry and the problems it is facing.
D.K.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Economy - Sabounjian, Warde and Italian Ambassador visit Wine festival
 

Fri 7/10/2011 12:13

NNA - 7/10/2011 - Industrial and political personalities visited on Thursday the wine festival at Beirut Hippodrome, among them was Industry Minister Vrej Sabonjian.

Sabounjian stressed that Lebanon is a productive country, adding that the ministry is working on enhancing all kinds of industries and to provide services to industrialists.

Also Italian Ambassador Giusippe Morabito inspected the Italian kitchen which took part in the festival.

Former Minister Salim Warde visited the festival and stressed the necessity of such festival, pointing out to Arsal incursion incident, refusing the words of Syrian Ambassador to Lebanon Ali Abdel Karim Ali during his visit to Greek Orthodox Patriarch Ignatius IV Hazim and asked him to apologize.

A.A.M

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Economy - (CORRECTED) GLC boycotts Price Index Committee meetings
 

Thu 6/10/2011 19:27

NNA - 6/10/2011 - The General Labor Confederation (GLC) on Thursday said it would boycott Price Index Committee's meetings.

GLC executive committee tackled, during its periodic meeting today, the 2012 public budget draft issue put forth by Finance Minister Mohammad Safadi. "The draft does not differ from the former governments' policies as to the increase of VAT and fuel price," the committee said in a statement, adding that it did not mention wages adjustment.

R.A.H.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved

Economy - Nahas chairs Price Index subcommittee meeting
 

Thu 6/10/2011 18:03

NNA - 6/10/2011 - Minister of Labor Charbel Nahas on Thursday chaired a meeting for the subcommittee derived from the Price Index Committee, devoted to tackle minimum wage raise.

Representatives of the Labor Ministry, Commerce and Industry Chamber, Beirut Merchants Association, and Central Statistics Administration attended the meeting.


R.A.H.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved

Economy - Aridi inspects expansion works at Beirut port
 

Thu 6/10/2011 17:59

NNA - 6/10/2011 - Minister of Public Works and Transportation, Ghazi Aridi, on Thursday inspected underway expansion works at Beirut port and the construction of a basin for the maritime taxi project.

The Minister was also informed of the new informatics system IPS, expected to facilitate formalities at the port.

Speaking to journalists following a meeting he chaired at the office of the port's Director General, the Minister said talks touched on public transportation projects.

He added that the possibility to create a maritime line linking Lebanon's ports was still on-the-table.

On a different note, he revealed that the city of Tripoli was selected as the Arab Ports Federation's seat, noting that a conference was scheduled to be held on forthcoming October 20 to shed light on the importance of Lebanon's harbors on the international scene.


R.A.H.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved

Economy - Sabonjian tackles reactivation of civil societies' work
 

Thu 6/10/2011 17:58

NNA - 6/10/2011 - Industry Minister Vreij Sabinjian tackled Thursday the reactivation of the civil society's work and the interaction with the European communities through the economic and social council.

The Minister met for this purpose with a joint delegation of the European economic and social committee and the European Union's delegation to Lebanon with talks touching on the ongoing preparations for the Middle Eastern social and economic councils' central meeting.

Sabonjian later met with the German parliament member, former Economy and Technology Minister, Michael Glos, in presence of the German Ambassador to Lebanon, Brigitta Siefker-Eberly, with talks featuring high on boosting bilateral ties and reinforcing small and medium enterprises which reactivate the economic wheel.
D.K.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved
 

Economy - GLC boycotts Price Index Committee meetings
 

Thu 6/10/2011 17:38

NNA - 6/10/2011 - The General Labor Confederation (GLC) on Thursday said it would boycott Price Index Committee's meetings.

GLC executive committee tackled, during its periodic meeting today, the 2012 public budget draft issue put forth by Finance Minister Mohammad Safadi. "The draft does not differ from the former governments' policies as to the increase of VAT and fuel price," he said, adding that it did not mention wages adjustment.

R.A.H.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved

Economy - Lebanese banking sector not jeopardized in any way: Salameh
 

Thu 6/10/2011 17:28

NNA - 6/10/2011 - Lebanon's Central Bank Governor, Riad Salameh, said the banking sector in Lebanon is not jeopardized in any way, in his word delivered Thursday during a workshop on reinforcing financial and economic culture among Lebanon's youth.

The workshop held at Lebanon Central Bank (BDL) was attended by a large number of economy teachers who render a great deal of concern to boosting youths' economic knowledge.

Salameh confirmed that Lebanon's wealth is in its human resources, assuring that the BDL was highly concerned with raising awareness amongst youth regarding fiscal and economic issues which are very important in building trust in local currency.

The Governor affirmed that Lebanon's Central Bank is working on qualifying people to become capable of grasping the financial world's developments hence pre-estimating the threats of any banking transaction.

"Amid the Arab major developments, our banks were proven capable of facing all external changes without affecting the Central Bank's work," said Salameh.

He reassured as well that the BDL is adopting the most adequate measures and giving instructions to the country's banks to fight by all means against money laundering so as to spare Lebanon its negative outcomes.

D.K.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved

 

 

 

 

 

 


 


Economy - Mansourieh residents continue sit-in
 

Thu 6/10/2011 08:16

NNA - 6/10/2011 - Residents of Mansourieh and Ain Saade continued protesting and staging a sit-in for the second day to prevent EDL workers from installing high voltage electricity lines in the area, according to NNA correspondent.

EDL workers returned to the scene backed with ISF Panthers unit followed by two vehicles carrying power cables, prompting the residents to close the road and raise tents.
 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved
 

Economy - Sehnawi vows internet speed to be raised soon
 

Wed 5/10/2011 18:35

NNA - 5/10/2011 - Minister of Telecommunications, Nicolas Sehnawi, on Wednesday said internet speed is to be raised within a week, after leveling technical defects.

Interviewed on Sawt-el-Mada radio station, Sehnawi revealed a number of private companies have already started to apply the decree on raising internet speed and capacity.

He explained that an agreement with LibanPost, as per which more modems would be provided, was expected to scupper delay in looking into citizens' applications.

The Telecoms Ministry duly asked inward offices and departments to help citizens seeking to activate their modems.



R.A.H.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Economy - Telecoms Ministry, IJMA'A ink understanding memorandum
 

Wed 5/10/2011 16:42

NNA - 5/10/2011 - The Ministry of Telecommunications and Arab Organization for Informatics and Telecoms, IJMA'A, on Wednesday inked a memorandum of understanding to renew the two-pronged consultative relations.

Minister Nicolas Sehnawi, representing the Ministry, and Nizar Zakka on behalf of IJMA'A, also agreed to resume cooperation between both parties for the fourth year.

R.A.H./A.B.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Economy - National Conference for Eco-Friendly Packaging opens in Beirut
 

Wed 5/10/2011 16:36

NNA - 05/10/2011 - The National Conference for Eco-Friendly Packaging, organized by the Lebanese Center for Bottling and Packaging "LibanPac" under the auspices of Industry Ministry, Vreij Sabonjian, and UNIDO, was opened on Wednesday at Adnan Qassar Building for Arab Economy.

The opening ceremony was attended by a number of economic, diplomatic, and media figures.

This conference is considered the first of its kind, as it aims to enhance the competitiveness capacity of national industry, find world markets for industry, and increase awareness of using eco-friendly materials for packaging.
 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved

 







 

Economy - Nahhas chairs Social Services Commission meeting
 

Wed 5/10/2011 15:48

NNA - 5/10/2011 - Labor Minister Charbel Nahhas chaired Wednesday the Public Policies and Social Services subcommittee derived from the Price Index Committee.

The meeting aimed at tackling public policies so as to reconsider wages and salaries especially on the level of taxation policies and social services.

Conferees agreed to hold a crucial meeting Friday for the Price Index Committee to review all the cost of living data submitted by the General Labor Confederation to determine whether the demand to raise minimum wage was valid.

During the meeting, GLC Head, Ghassan Ghosn, said the union settled on rectifying wages and salaries.

"Lebanese Labor Protection, in light of talks about the exchange of workers, renders the government responsible to change the policy of bringing in foreign labor competition," Ghosn said.


L.W.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved

 

 

 

 

 


Economy - Abboud: Ministry to launch its new tourism electronic gate
 

Wed 5/10/2011 14:11
NNA - 5/10/2011 Tourism Minister Fadi Abboud inaugurated Wednesday the "First forum for national tourism development" organized by Beyond Beirut and co-organized by the UNDP at the UNESCO palace.

In his word delivered on the occasion, Abboud said the Ministry pledged achieving a responsible, competitive, and permanent tourism sector.

"We have made the "Flavors of Lebanon" documentary and it is the last one of the international television chain that represents a short trip around countries of the world," Abboud said and judged the movie as important to attract tourists and activate tourism movement in far regions of Lebanon such as Baalbeck, Tripoli, Tyre, and Bekaa.

Minister Abboud said within two months the Ministry is supposed to launch its new electronic gate which will form a complementary tool to guide tourists and introduce them to Lebanese regions.
"Tourists shall become able to previously plan their trips to Lebanon through the "trip planner", he said.

In his words, Abboud said Ministry has solved administrative problems that were behind tourism regression

L.W./A.B

NNA 2011 All rights reserved










 

Economy - Developmental affairs highlight Aridi's talks with visitors
 

Wed 5/10/2011 13:33

NNA - 05/10/2011 - Public Works and Transportation Minister, Ghazi Aridi, reviewed on Wednesday at his office developmental affairs relevant to various Lebanese regions.

Aridi was informed by Telecom Minister, Nicholas Sehnawi, the levels thus far covered regarding the internet project. He also reviewed with the guest social and developmental matters relevant to Ashrafieh.

Aridi also received a delegation of Baaklin municipality, giving directions to haste to asphalt and rehabilitate roads leading to Baaklin.

Separately, Aridi received a delegation of the Lebanese Woman Council, headed by Dr. Amani Chaarani Kebbara, accompanied with her Deputy Najwa Ramadan. The delegation thanked the host for his developmental activities that are based upon a balanced development among the Lebanese regions.
 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Economy - Hajj Hassan tackles Lebanese-Indian agricultural cooperation
 

Wed 5/10/2011 13:21

NNA - 5/10/2011 - Agriculture Minister, Hussein Hajj Hassan, received on Wednesday at his ministerial office the Indian Ambassador to Lebanon Rafi Tabar with whom he tackled bilateral ties and expertise exchange, particularly at the agricultural level.

Minister Hajj Hassan highlighted the depth of the Lebanese-Indian ties agreeing on the importance of signing an agricultural memorandum of understanding between the two countries.

Mango and frosted meat importation from India were also mentioned in the two men's meeting.
D.K.
 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved

 

 

 



Economy - Mansourieh citizens stage sit in
 

Wed 5/10/2011 08:51

NNA - 5/10/2011 - Mansourieh and Ain Saade citizens staged a sit in on Wednesday since dawn in collaboration with the students of Sacre Coeur School to protest installation of high voltage power lines.

The protestors cut off the road to prevent EDL technicians from passing.

ISF black panthers unit rushed to the place and tried to open the road but was unable to fulfill their duty since the parents insisted to continue their move until the cabinet backs down from implementing this project.

It is worth noting that Deputy Nadim Gemayel headed to the scene.

A.A.M

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Economy - Terro: Crucial economic situation imposes serious dialogue on Lebanese poles
 

Tue 4/10/2011 16:11

NNA - 4/10/2011 - Expatriates Minister Alaa Eddine Terro said Tuesday that the crucial economic situation the country is going through imposes serious dialogue on different Lebanese poles in a bid to address the people's livelihood conditions.

Terro voiced these words after his meeting with the head of expatriates central fund, Fadi Aramouni and delegations from the Lebanese University.

"The workers sit-in is just and righteous yet the hindrances derailing the economic committees and the employers' performance raise the burden instead of lessening it through well-studied solutions," Terro pointed out.
D.K.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Economy - Abou Faour calls upon Kidnapped to benefit from house loan
 

Tue 4/10/2011 15:34

NNA - 04/10/2011 - Social Affairs Minister, Wael Abou Faour, in a press conference on Tuesday at his office, called upon kidnapped people to benefit from the house loan specialized for them.

The conference was attended by the Housing Institution senior Abdullah Haydar and other dignitaries.

It is to note that this new loan exempts the kidnapped from paying the policy insurance.
 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Economy - Aridi tackles with Kikalia enhancing air transportation cooperation
 

Tue 4/10/2011 15:30

NNA - The probability of enhancing cooperation on the air transportation level featured high on the talks between Public Works and Transportation Minister Ghazi Aridi and the Georgian Economy and Permanent Development Minister Archil Kikalia at the former's office.

Talks also between the two persons focused on the bilateral ties between two countries on the economic level.

Among Aridi's visitors for today have been Kfardlakos Mayor, Peter Bayeh; Menieh Municipalities Union delegation headed by Mustafa Akl; and others.
 

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Economy - Commercial ties top talks between Nahas, Kekelia
 

Tue 4/10/2011 15:11

NNA - 4/10/2011 - Economy and Trade Minister Nicolas Nahas received on Tuesday the first Deputy Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development of Georgia, Archil Kekelia, with whom he tackled the reactivation of commercial ties and mutual investment between the two countries, particularly in the field of hotel management.

Moreover, Nahas met with the Malaysian Ambassador to Lebanon Ilango Karuppannan with talks touching on means to boost commercial exchange.

The Minister proposed a Malaysian Day in Lebanon and vice versa in order to introduce the two countries' products to each other.

Separately, the Danish Ambassador to Lebanon Jan Top Christensen held a meeting with Nahas reportedly focusing on bilateral cooperation between private sectors.

It is to note that parliament member Sami Gemayel had also been to Minister Nahas' office.
D.K.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Economy - Sabonjian, Barazanji tackle Lebanese-Iraqi exchange
 

Tue 4/10/2011 14:32

NNA - 4/10/2011 - The Minister of Industry and Trade Vreij Sabonjian tackled on Tuesday with the Iraqi Ambassador to Lebanon, Omar Barazanji, different exchange means between Lebanon and Iraq.

Both men discussed as well the flood of Lebanese products to Iraq as well as the mutual acknowledgment of consistency license.

Sabonjian underscored in this regard the deep-rooted and historical relations between Lebanon and Iraq stressing on the necessity of respecting mutual agreements signed between the two countries.

"The Iraqi market is a must for the Lebanese exporters," he noted, calling for facilitating industrial and commercial exchange and establishing joint projects between Lebanese and Iraqi businessmen and industrialists.

Barazanji, for his part, assured that the transit to Iraq through Syria is feasible.
D.K.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved


Economy - Aridi says 'seasonal' dialogue between workers, employers, government is unacceptable
 

Mon 3/10/2011 17:28

NNA - 3/10/2011 - Minister of Public Works and Transportation, Ghazi Aridi, said it is unacceptable that dialogue between workers, employers, and the government be "seasonal," during a news conference he held on Monday.

He called for an open, calm, and rational dialogue, stressing that the state's vision must include all workers in different sectors. He highlighted the necessity to take account of the public transportation item in the public budget.

Besides, he said "the formation of socio-economic council is not enough and it does not constitute a solution to the problem." "A global and comprehensive vision on the council's role is necessary so as to reach required solutions," he added.

Pertaining to flooding caused by torrential rain a week ago, Aridi explained that this matter must be followed up by the Minister of Water and Energy Resources.

Prior to the news conference, Aridi held a series of meetings over the economic and social situation as well as over workers' mobilization for wages adjustment.

R.A.H.

NNA 2011 All rights reserved