Beirut- President of the Association of Lebanese Industrialists Fadi Gemayel has said that Lebanon is passing through difficult circumstances as its growth rate has ranged between 1 and 1.5%.
“Although this rate is being reached in some European countries too, yet it is still so far away from what the Lebanese economy has achieved in the past.”
Gemayel stressed that Lebanese industry isn’t in its best situation and is not consistent with Lebanese people’s capabilities and potentials.
In an interview with Asharq Al-Awsat, Gemayel noted that the World Bank praised the diversity of Lebanese products that include traditional products as well as sophisticated goods in several sectors.
Gemayel said that Lebanon’s industry has faced many challenges in the past and has developed without any support or industrial policy, except for the interest subsidy in the industrial, agricultural and tourism investments.
He said that Lebanese products have reached countries with most demanding markets such as the United States, Canada and Europe.
We always praise the capabilities of Lebanon’s industry, he said, despite the challenges Lebanon has been facing for many years.
Based on that, he confirmed that Lebanon’s industry in not at risk because of industrialists’ bids, yet unfortunately Lebanon is not getting the opportunity to exploit these potentials; knowing that every industrial corporation creates job opportunities and activates other sectors like banks, transportation, insurance companies, engineering etc.
Moreover, Gemayel stressed that political differences with Gulf countries have put pressure on the Lebanese economy since exporting to these countries has changed from land routes to sea routes and air transport.
He pointed out that Gulf markets constitute at least 30% of Lebanon’s overall exports and Iraq constitutes 10% of it.
Therefore, Lebanon’s industrial sector did not hesitate in finding alternative means to land routes, being aware of the importance of the continuity of these markets.
Gemayel said that Lebanon is usually influenced by regional changes and incidents as studies show the heavy burdens of Syrian refugees on Lebanese institutions.
There are 1.5 million Syrian refugees in Lebanon, which is not normal, he said, urging Arab and western countries to solve this crisis because Lebanon cannot handle it alone.
He made an appeal to officials to prepare an economic approach that does not bind the Lebanese economy with regional conditions.
Gemayel hoped that through the election of President Michel Aoun and Saad Hariri’s mission to form a government, the economic and industrial sectors will witness prosperity very soon.
The Chief Lebanese Industrialist noted that in 2009, Lebanon’s situation was relatively stable when it elected its president as the growth rate amounted to 10.3 percent, according to World Bank statistics.