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CHAMPION OF THE DAY
Businesses call for shutdown
Economic bodies demand Cabinet formation
Representatives of the economic bodies announced their full commitment to shutting down all business activities on September 4. They unanimously agreed that deteriorating economic conditions are linked to the paralysis of the decision-making process in the absence of a Cabinet.
Economic bodies had issued a statement on August 26, inviting all businesses to participate in the shutdown unless the Cabinet is formed by then.
According to the Association of Lebanese Industrialists (ALI), economic indicators predict social problems due to rising unemployment. Neemat Frem, President of the ALI, said: “We insist on forming a Cabinet, because through it we can end the paralysis of the decision-making process.” Ziad Bekdache, Vice President, said: “We are also inviting political parties to engage in a dialogue to solve all conflicts.”
The Beirut Traders Association (BTA) voiced concerns about the retail sector. “Sales are dropping by ten to 25 percent monthly, and profits fell by 50 percent in the last two years,” said Antoine Eid, Head of the Ashrafieh Traders Association. Not addressing this would put more shops out of business. He called for more financial facilities to businesses from banks.
Massaad Fares, President of the Real Estate Association of Lebanon (REAL) said the decrease in clients’ purchasing power has dealt a serious blow to the sector. “Property sales at end-June dropped by almost 20 percent year-on-year; particularly for large luxury apartments,” he said.
The General Contractors’ Syndicate highlighted the impact of security instability on the economic situation. The absence of a Cabinet has affected all productive sectors and placed huge burdens on contractors who are forced to delay paying their dues.
The Association of Insurance Companies in Lebanon (ACAL) is participating in the shutdown to show solidarity with the struggling population.
Paul Ariss, President of the Syndicate of Owners of Restaurant, Cafés, Night Clubs, and Pastries in Lebanon, said the shutdown is not enough. “It should be followed by several procedures such as supporting all the productive sectors through subsidized loans.”
Charles Arbid, President of the Lebanese Franchise Association (LFA), said: “The first steps after forming the Cabinet should lead to decreasing production costs in companies.”
Reported by Rania Ghanem
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Aug 30, 2013
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