Lebanon Businessnews News

Eight new ministers take helm of economy
Few were assigned according
to their professional background
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Caretaker Prime Minister Tammam Salam announced on February 15 the formation of a 24-Minister Cabinet.

Eight Ministers carry economic portfolios, in addition to the Prime Minister.

Prime Minister Tammam Salam, 68, holds an economics and management degree, which he received in England. Salam took up his father’s position as President of the Makassed Foundation, in the early 1980s. "This is a unity cabinet that represents, at the present time, the best formula for Lebanon with all the political, security, economic and social challenges it is facing," he said.

Minister of Public Works and Transport, Ghazi Zaiter, 65, became an appeals lawyer after receiving his law degree from the Beirut Arab University. In early 2000, Zaiter was appointed as Minister of Industry. One of his main achievements was launching an industrial statistics system in collaboration with the Association of Lebanese Industrialists (ALI) and UNIDO. He said: “The system aims at issuing economic indicators that reflect the industrial reality and help clear the sector’s contribution to the local economy.”

Minister of Tourism Michel Pharaon, 55, carries a degree in economics from St. Joseph University (USJ) and an MBA from the University of Paris-Dauphine. He established a large business career in Lebanon, the Arab world and West Africa. He was only 27 when he chaired the Libano Suisse insurance firm. He is Chair of Pharaon Holding, Colina Insurance-Abidjan, and board member of Globemed. He chaired the Commerce du Levant magazine, for several years. He is also president of Batim Africa Group specialized in real estate in West Africa, and is Deputy Head of Ruphayil Pharaon and Sons. He is a Beirut MP. Pharaon calls for improving the private sector’s role through organizing dedicated meetings to reform the sector.

Minister of Telecommunications Boutros Harb, 70, holds a law degree from USJ. He was Minister of Education twice, in the past, then Minister of Public Works, and Minister of Labor, where he drafted a law for elderly social security. As a Minister of Education, Harb established the Faculties of Architecture and Medicine at the Lebanese University. He had also penned the compulsory and free public basic education. He is known to be a firm defender of the rights of academic bodies.

Minister of Industry Hussein Hajj Hassan, 54, holds a degree in Chemistry from the Lebanese University, a Master’s and PhD from France. He is a science professor at the Lebanese University. He participated in creating the Consultative Center for Studies and Documentation. He was voted MP for four terms. Hajj Hussein became Minister of Agriculture in 2009. “The economy is being driven towards a catastrophe. Farmers and industrialists all over the country are warning of this,” he recently said, commenting on the economic deterioration.

Minister of Finance, Ali Hassan Khalil, 50, has a law degree from the Lebanese University and is an appeals lawyer. He was voted MP in 1996 and was later appointed Minister of Agriculture and then Minister of Public Health. Minister Khalil confirmed the continuation of the policy of promoting healthcare programs and activities. He said: "The so-called medicines' scandal is one of the important achievements made by the Ministry and monitoring inspection apparatuses.” He also said: “The ministry has provided half the population with hospitalization services,” which he called a “responsibility and a duty,” despite budgetary constraints.

Minister of Agriculture Akram Chehayyeb, 67, has a Master’s in Modern History from the University of Cairo. He was appointed MP in 1991and continued for more than five terms. Chehayyeb has been Minister of Environment, then Minister of the Displaced. He criticized the government’s economic strategies, saying its austerity policies overlooked the country’s economic wellbeing. “The government needed to fulfill a host of duties before thinking about organizing shopping festivals,” he said. Chehayyeb called for the completion of infrastructure and the promotion of balanced regional development. He also said that “the government needs to protect farmers against fluctuating seasons and industrialists against dumping.”

Minister of Economy Alain Hakim, 53, has a PhD in Business Administration from USJ. He has been Group Assistant General Manager of Credit Libanais for more than 14 years. Hakim is also lecturer at the Association of Banks in Lebanon (ABL) and USJ. He has a long career in banking. Hakim promised that he would work hard and prioritize livelihood and consumerism issues.

Minister of Energy and Water Arthur Nazarian, 63, is a textile engineer. He is chairman of Bycop, a local textiles firm, among other companies, in the Gulf. Nazarian was first appointed as Minister of Tourism and then of the Environment. He was voted MP in 2009. Nazarian said: “We hope this government will be an opportunity for the Lebanese, especially following the economic and security slump. I came from the private sector and I am sure things will not go well without cooperation with the public sector.”

Reported by Yassmine Alieh
Date Posted: Feb 17, 2014
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