Lebanon Businessnews News

Movie industry will benefit from incentives
Central Bank circular 331 and IDAL
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Local media, and particularly the movie industry, may now benefit from support and funding under BDL’s Circular 331.

Fondation Liban Cinéma and the Investment Development Authority of Lebanon (IDAL) today signed a Memorandum of Understanding, allowing local media and the movie industry to benefit from the packages and incentives of IDAL. According to Leila El Khoury, Project Manager at IDAL, the body already catered to media industry, but will now be focusing more on the movie industry.

“While formulating Circular 331, we did not give a precise definition of ‘knowledge economy’, and we did so intentionally,” said Marianne Hoayek, Executive Director at the Central Bank (BDL). This definition allowed media to be considered among the industries that the Circular covers and encourages investments in.

According to Maya de Freige, President of Fondation Liban Cinéma, BDL’s Circular 331 considering the movie industry as part of the knowledge economy will drive the business forward, giving local moviemakers opportunities and encouraging them.

According to Hoayek, local media and movie industry players are eligible to funding under Circular 331, if they are a Lebanese SAL with a creative idea and using a new technology.

“We believe that the knowledge economy, the banking sector, and the oil and gas sector will be the pillars that will drive and move our economy forward in the coming years,” Hoayek said.

“Under IDAL’s constitutional law, the entity is able to create a special incubator catering to the media industry and we will be collaboration with Fondation Liban Cinéma to define the right model for it and to launch it as soon as the platform is ready,” El Khoury said. The German government has already created a similar concept and it is very profitable and beneficiary to the industry.

The media sector’s activity has been put back on track. The Ministry of Culture has reactivated the role of the Cinema Committee within the Ministry. This body specifies the Ministry’s financial participation in the films’ budgets. “We have paid the pending dues for participation in the films produced, even if minimal,” said Minister Raymond Areiji.

The industry is a major contributor to the local economy. The latest figures by the World Intellectual Property Organization indicate that the media industry accounted for around 2.5 percent of the local national output. The turnover of this industry stood at around $1 billion, with an added value of around 55 percent. Based on the most recent estimates, there are around 400 companies working in the sector, employing around 2 percent of the local labor force.
Reported by Rana Freifer
Date Posted: Mar 27, 2015
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