Shutdown records high participation
Solidarity could influence Cabinet formation
The Economic Bodies held a conference at the Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture, on September 4 to discuss the impact of economic shutdown they called for.
Solidarity was high across all sectors. Participants in the shutdown included traders’ associations in Jounieh, Beirut, Badaro, Chouf, Aley, Zahle, the North, and Tyr. Other participants included banks, and the Beirut Stock Exchange. Most large companies from the insurance and trade sectors did shut down most or part of the day. All professional associations have called for the shutdown but participation has been low among leisure and entertainment venues.
The Economic Bodies’ branch in Nabatieh (South Lebanon) didn’t join the strike. A few other associations, gas stations, hospitals, brokers, retail shops for instance those run by Aïshti, and food and beverage outlets did not participate either. Most malls such as ABC and City Mall closed till 4:00 p.m. “but cinemas were open for business as usual and didn’t participate,” said Isaac Fahed, Marketing Manager of Grand Cinemas. In addition, most resorts were open, like Eddeh Sands, and Pangea.
The call for businesses to shut down is part of a series of actions undertaken by the Economic Bodies since the beginning of the year to create a better environment for the economy.
“Our goal is not to obstruct national interests but rather to promote better productivity. Today’s action confirms that it is politicians’ duty to take the necessary measures. They have to agree on forming an effective Government,” said Adnan Kassar, President of the Economic Bodies.
“The participation by malls and other commercial outlets that do not usually answer such calls was greatly appreciated,” said Fouad Zmokhol, President of the Lebanese Businessmen Association (RDCL).
Nicolas Chammas, Head of the Beirut Traders Association, said: “The cost of closing down for one day totals $75-$100 million across all sectors. We hope this will act as an incentive to restore political order and achieve an organized economy.”
“We will succeed if we follow up this move and force politicians to put the interests of the country before their own,” said Raphael Debbane, Chairman of Debbane Group.
Mohammad Choucair, President of Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture, said: “We are ready for dialogue in order to come up with solutions. We will continue our meetings with the economic bodies until we get a result.”
According to Neemat Frem, President of the Association of Lebanese Industrialists (ALI), “President Michel Sleiman assured that implementing the recommendations of the Baabda Declaration would provide the country with a safe haven far from conflict.”
Reported by Joelle Nassar
Date Posted: Sep 04, 2013