NNA - Industry Minister George Boushekian stressed the gradual improvement of industrial, economic and production prospects in Lebanon with the work of the ministry and the measures taken in terms of closing unlicensed factories and obligating industrial establishments to work according to quality specifications and standards that qualify the Lebanese product to compete locally and abroad.
President of the Republic, General Michel Aoun, was quoted encouraging the Industry Minister to proceed with this plan to re-launch the industry, modernize it, and restore the productive economy as an alternative to the rentier economy.
In addition, Minister Boushekian emphasized that there is no emigration of factories from Lebanon, and pointed out that there have been many industrial investments in Lebanon in the past year.
Minister Boushekian positions came after visiting President Aoun, today at the Presidential Palace.
Minister Boushekian tackled with President Aoun the industrial situation, in addition to the results of his talks in Iraq, where he signed a memorandum of cooperation and inaugurated the Iraqi-Lebanese Business Conference.
After the meeting, the Industry Minister made the following statement:
“I was honored to visit the President. We discussed industrial, economic and production prospects that are gradually improving with the work of the Ministry and its strict measures and procedures in terms of closing unlicensed factories and obliging industrial establishments to work according to specifications and standards so that the Lebanese product is good, conforms to specifications and has a high quality that qualifies it to compete in Lebanon and abroad. President Aoun was satisfied with these results and showed all care and encouragement to proceed with this plan to re-launch and modernize the industry and restore the productive economy as an alternative to the rentier economy.
I also briefed the President on the discussions I had in Iraq during my visit to Baghdad in the past two days, and we opened the Iraqi-Lebanese Business Conference in Baghdad with official, governmental and private sector participation in both countries. Meetings were also held with the Iraqi Ministers of Industry, Minerals and Trade, and a memorandum of cooperation was signed between the Lebanese and Iraqi Ministries of Industry, which is considered an essential foundation for developing and strengthening joint relations.
I also tackled the extent of the Iraqis’ attachment to Lebanon and their willingness to cooperate, which are mutual aspects. And we set a starting base for cooperation based on integrated manufacturing industries, and they offered to exchange experiences with us, and to provide training experiences for the Iraqi side in many areas related to management, research and scientific development, archiving, mechanization, packaging, marketing and other fields. Iraq’s leadership and people are on the side of Lebanon”.
Questions & Answers:
Minister Boushekian was asked about the difficulties facing Lebanese industrialist, in light of the increase in fuel prices, where he replied “Let’s set things straight regarding factories, and according to sectors, there are sectors which require a maximum of 5% energy, others require 10% and others 30%. The industries mostly affected by the rise of prices are those which require a larger percentage of energy, and these industries are not numerous, because most industrial sectors need a percentage of energy between 3 and 5%, which is part of the capital of commodity”.
With regard to what is said about the migration of Lebanese factories abroad, Minister Boushekian affirmed that “This issue is not true, because there are factories which began to open production branches abroad, while there were many industrial investments in Lebanon in 2021. Today there arelicenses and huge factories under construction in several sectors, including pharmaceutical, food and others”.
Responding to a question about what the ministry is doing to curb price slippage in the market, even for locally made goods, the Industry Minister said “This is the role of the Economy Ministry. Therefore, I seek to highlight the reality of the cost, which varies between goods. In many cases, it is used to talk about the issue of the customs dollar and others, while the raw materials for the industry are exempted from customs fees within the framework of what is stipulated in the agreements with the European Union, the European Partnership and Arab countries. The plastics sector for example, needs a large percentage of energy, and therefore it can increase its prices, but the food sector needs energy between 3 and 5%. Hence, we must be transparent in this matter. Monitoring markets is the responsibility of the Economy Ministry, while the Industry Ministry is concerned with monitoring industry and industrial productions, specifications and quality, in order to give the best product at the best cost. Our job stops at this point”.
Former Minister Akar:
The President met former Deputy Prime Minister, Mrs. Zeina Akar, and deliberated with her general affairs and political developments.
Mrs. Akar also congratulated President Aoun on the holidays.
Mr. Zouein affirmed that “Tanzim” stands by the President in his stances, and supports the steps he is taking in order to combat corruption, proceed with forensic audit, and not disrupt constitutional institutions. -- Presidency Press Office