Economic bodies sound alarm. To elect a president and hold politicians accountable - Lebanon

Economic bodies
sound alarm
To elect a president
and hold politicians accountable
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Business and industrial associations called today for stabilizing coexistence and supporting national economic reconciliation. This call to action came after a gathering which took place in BIEL, entitled ‘Alarm of June 25 for a decision against suicide’.

“Despite the crisis in the Arab region, the country has been able to survive and this was noticed in its relative stability. But there are still several factors that could destroy the country’s future,” said the economic body’s statement, announced by Charles Arbid, Chairman of Lebanese Franchise Association. Politics should preserve the present, guarantee the development of the future, and serve the economy, not vice versa.

The economic bodies warned that the presidential void will become permanent and destroy all hopes of economic and social renewal.

Arbid said that economic associations refuse to surrender to stagnation because it is entrusted with the economy and growth. They called on the Lebanese for support in pressuring for the restoration of public institutions, mainly the presidency of the republic.

Mohammad Choucair, Chairman of the Chamber of Commerce, Industry, and Agriculture in Beirut and Mount Lebanon, said: “Parliament is paralyzed, several essential laws have not been enacted and the Cabinet is not meeting, which would impact the security stability.”

Choucair said that social and living conditions are deteriorating to dangerous levels, as unemployment has reached 25 percent and exceeded 35 percent for youth, and poverty has reached a lot of people, and thousands of companies are closing.”

Francois Bassil, Chairman of the Association of Lebanese Banks, said: “The economic and industrial bodies have played an essential role in providing the appropriate conditions for the economy.” He said that the public sector is striving locally and abroad to preserve its institutions and to provide job opportunities for the people, as well as to attract funding to repay debts and boost growth.

Bassil said that the Government should resolve several urgent matters, such as the National Social Security Fund, Electricité du Liban, telecommunications, power, oil and gas. “This is why we hope that the productive society will move to wake political forces from their hibernation and reactivate the work of constitutional authorities by electing a new president of the republic,” he said.

MP Robert Fadel, who launched the initiative of the meeting said: “Our conflicts have led the country to a mass suicide. The Government proved that it has fallen, because it has abstained from doing its job.” He said that the country will not remain if we do not change the political performance and if the people don’t hold leaders accountable.

Nicolas Chammas, Chairman of the Beirut Traders Association, said: “The trade sector is suffering with around 14 percent of stores and shops closing within one year.” He said that the situation will not improve unless the productive society overcomes political forces.

Representatives from several economic associations participated in the gathering, such as Fadi Gemayel from the Association of Lebanese Industrialists, Mohammad Saleh from the Chamber of Commerce, Industry, and Agriculture in Saida and South, Adnan Kassar, Honorary of the General Union of the Chambers of Commerce, Industry, and Agriculture, Khaled Chehab from the Order of Engineers, Antoine Boustany from the Order of Physicians, Rabih Hassouna from the Order of Pharmacists, George Jreij from the Syndicate of Lawyers, Hayat Arslan from the Civil Society Dialogue Committee, as well as Ghassan Ghosn from the General Confederation of Labor Unions (GCLU). A large number of economists and businesspersons were also present.
Reported by Rania Ghanem
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Date Posted: Jun 25, 2015