Jean Tawile: the legitimate private sector is facing an illegal private sector

Jean Tawile: the legitimate private sector is facing an illegal private sector

| Tuesday 28 March 2023

Exclusive, “Akhbar al-Yawm” agency

Maintaining the country's economic and cultural identity is the responsibility of all officials, wherever they are

Jean Tawile, economic advisor and board member with the Lebanese Businessmen Association (RDCL), considered that the recent press conference of the IMF mission to Lebanon was very remarkable, whether in terms of form or content.

He said: in terms of form, it was remarkable that the conference was held in a private hotel, without the presence of any official entity, whether it was a government representative or someone from the Bank of Lebanon, or others... Perhaps this event is a very strong and serious message.

As for the content, the participants held the Banque du Liban, the government and the parliament responsible for the situation that the country has reached, calling for working together immediately to implement all the required reforms, criticizing the lack of any seriousness in dealing with the reforms, as well as the pledge that Lebanon had taken to implement the reforms. So, Lebanon as a state made a commitment, but in reality it did not respect this commitment and did not take it seriously.

In an interview with the "Akhbar al-Yawm" agency, Tawile pointed out that the article by Deputy Prime Minister Saadeh Al-Shami today in the Nidaa Al-Watan newspaper should be the final and detailed alarm bell, which we hope will awaken the consciences in all the minds of officials wherever they are in charge.

In this context, Tawile also noted that the IMF focused on the details and the approach taken, and how it brought Lebanon to its current crisis situation.

Tawile added: Also, the representatives of the IMF reiterated the alternative solutions and ways to get the country out of this tragic scenario. It also discussed the same reforms that everyone is aware of, which are demanded by the gathering of businessmen and businesswomen, provided that they are also accompanied by a comprehensive economic plan. This demand is not specific to the IMF, but it is also the demand of the people, the economy and the legitimate Lebanese private sector, but officials do not show any seriousness and insist on continuing to defend their own interests, even at the expense of the people, the country and the future of the citizens.

The Bank of Lebanon raised the dollar exchange rate on Sayrafa platform, in order to keep pace with the development of the price rise in the parallel market. Tawile continued: the Bank of Lebanon continues to issue its useless decisions, at the same time we see a contradiction in its procedures. On the one hand, the central bank says that it has raised the US dollar exchange rate on Sayrafa to be able to withdraw liquidity from the market, while this requires it to pay the hard currency, i.e. the remaining reserves or people's deposits. On the other hand, the salaries of the public sector continue to be raised by printing more Lebanese currency, instead of reducing its size, maintaining only the competent and restructuring the size and effectiveness of the public sector.

He continued: In parallel, the central bank also continues to convert deposits into lira through printing. If it continues in this vein, the volume of printing the lira will be equal to 20 times the current monetary mass. The central bank wants to withdraw liquidity, while the process of printing currency continues. Such an approach and costly decisions of the people will not lead to any reform and positive result. This issue was also among the topics addressed by the IMF.

And what about the approval of the public procurement law, which the private sector is demanding to implement, especially after the recent announcement of The Binding of a new terminal for passengers at Rafic Hariri International Airport? Tawileh mentioned that today, the public procurement law was passed and was also not applied at the first entitlement related to the airport, as it was agreed by mutual at the expense of the people.

Tawile considered that the public procurement law is very important, which is both a domestic and an international requirement. Great efforts have been made to approve it, but the personal interests of officials outweigh the interest of the people and the public interest. He concluded that the approach adopted to manage the crisis has not changed and is the same that brought Lebanon and its people to this situation, and the legitimate private sector among them, it is paying the price because it is facing an illegal private sector. It is incapable of working, producing, creating growth, jobs and moving the economy.

Maintaining the country's economic and cultural identity is the responsibility of all officials wherever they are, we are also afraid that the rescue door will be closed in front of us, the light at the end of the tunnel is dimming, he said.

He concluded: the legitimate private sector will not be a false witness to this confusion.

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