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CHAMPION OF THE DAY
Three-year development plan
advocated by the government
Targets include productive sectors
social policies, and environment
The government has prepared a draft plan for development priorities over three years with a current focus on productive sectors, social policies, and the environment.
“Progress is ongoing across all areas simultaneously, with notable results on the COVID-19 response,” the government said in the draft plan.
“In response to the deepening crisis, the Ministry of Industry has developed a roadmap for the industrial sector, aimed at supporting existing industries, encouraging diversification, increasing exports and containing unemployment,” according to the draft plan.
The targeted sectors include agro-food, light industries, pharmaceuticals and medical equipment, textiles and furniture, jewelry, knowledge industries, creative and cultural industries, and construction.
Business support will be conditional upon employee retention.
The objectives of the roadmap include increasing the share of the industrial sector in the GDP, boosting industrial exports, reducing the trade deficit, encouraging new ventures in the knowledge and technology sectors, and creating sustainable job opportunities.
The government has set priority measures to provide urgently needed liquidity to the productive sectors. This will include LL300 billion ($86 million at an exchange rate of LL3,500 to the dollar) for purchases of industrial raw materials through country-to-country agreements which will benefit 250 recipients.
Soft loans of LL300 billion will be provided to finance purchases of industrial raw materials and equipment. These loans will include LL100 billion targeting micro-small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) and craft businesses.
The government will also provide cash guarantees for financing imports of raw materials for export-oriented industries for LL300 billion.
It will also set up the OXYGEN fund to provide access to foreign currencies for raw material imports.
The plan also includes the establishment of an industrial development bank.
Soft loans of LL130 billion will be provided to 30,000 famers to help them boost production of selected produce especially wheat and barley which will be increased by 3,700 tons and 750 tons respectively. The funds will also be used to encourage the adoption of new production mechanisms and productivity-enhancing technology.
The livestock sub-sector will also benefit from in-kind distribution of veterinary products to the tune of LL2.3 billion. Cow farms and beekeepers will benefit from a support of LL6.3 billion.
The government said that the economic rescue plan has been approved and the social assistance program has been launched while sectoral and anti-corruption reforms are being accelerated and activated.
It said it has launched the National Social Solidarity Program which consists of cash assistance disbursements to 200,000 vulnerable households.
The government said it has allocated a budget of LL800 billion for the social assistance program. Each beneficiary will receive an unconditional cash transfer of LL400,000 per month.
Reported by Shikrallah Nakhoul
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May 05, 2020
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