HARIRI AND ECONOMIC BODIES STRESS ADHERENCE TO LEBANON’S LIBERAL SYSTEM

June 26, 2020 Former Prime Minister Saad Hariri said: “We adhere to our liberal economic system based on individual initiative, which is one of our constants and priorities, and we will defend it with full force, because without the private sector there won’t be any recovery or economic advancement.”

 

Addressing this afternoon at the Center House a large delegation of the economic bodies headed by former Minister Mohamad Choucair, Hariri asserted “the need to preserve depositors’ money in the banks”. He said: “Any economic plan must preserve depositors’ funds. This is a goal that we will strive to achieve.”

 

Choucair

 

After the meeting, Choucair said: “Our meeting today with Prime Minister Hariri as economic bodies is not new. We have a long path with him that goes back to 15 years. We came today to emphasize several things, the first of which is that the economic bodies and the private sector cannot accept that this government or any other government changes Lebanon’s economic face, because the identity of the economy in Lebanon will remain a liberal economy. Also it is unacceptable to use the private sector as a scapegoat. These attacks started by attacking the banks, the importers of raw materials and supermarket owners, and recently the contractors. Which country in the world would summon two hundred contractors? These contractors are the ones who built Lebanon and half of the Gulf States, Arab countries and Africa. If there is a problem regarding a contractor or two, they summon them, but they want to blame their failures on the private sector, and we stressed our refusal of this.”

 

He added: “We said more than once that lowering the exchange rate cannot be done by imprisonment or threat, but by trust and the ensuring liquidity. Unfortunately, the government did not provide confidence and liquidity does not exist.”

 

He concluded: “We will continue and we will not accept to change the existing laws, and every time we hear about a new law. The economic bodies will not accept all these matters, neither today nor tomorrow, neither with this government nor with any other government.”

 

Chammas

 

After that, President of the Beirut Traders Association Nicolas Chammas said: “I would like to commend the words of the head of economic bodies and confirm that this visit to Premier Hariri was fruitful and special today. We are accustomed to visit this house, and before that the house of martyr Prime Minister Rafic Hariri, because they have a permanent knowledge of the affairs and problems of the private sector.”

 

He added: “We complain about not involving us in the future economic decisions and visions, and this poses a huge threat to the Lebanese economic system. As Minister Choucair mentioned, we feel that we are left and targeted because when the financial recovery plan was drawn up, which is really more of a plan to liquidate the private sector, we were not involved in it. This cost Lebanon a lot in the negotiations with the International Monetary Fund.”

 

He added: “Today we visited Premier Hariri, as he is the head of the second largest parliamentary bloc, to tell him that we see in him the fortress to defend the private sector and our liberal system that has protected our institutions. We fear to find our employees and ourselves in the streets. He reminded us of the experience of martyr Prime Minister Rafic Hariri who reduced the dollar from 2750 LBP to 1700, just because there was confidence. Premier Hariri had the international relations that are absent today, to the extent that we are looking towards the east. The year 2000 plan had an ambitious view to return Lebanon to the regional and international map, and there was a first-class working group, and a real partnership between the public and private sectors. The Martyr Prime Minister understood at the time that we had not only to save the LBP but also the banking sector, which is the backbone of the economy and we must not break it. It is useless to try to reduce the dollar rate by security means if the confidence is not restored. We are sure that if Premier Hariri restarts his external engines with Lebanon’s traditional friends, the Gulf States, Europe and the United States, then we can save ourselves. The coming weeks are important and we agreed with him to remain together in order to draw a road map that enables us to overcome this very sensitive stage, and perhaps the most dangerous one that Lebanon witnessed in a hundred years. However, with the presence of figures such as Premier Hariri, the awareness and the sense of responsibility that he enjoys, keeps a glimmer of faith to revive hope and recovery in the Lebanese economy.”

 

Source: National News Agency-Lebanon

 

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