Dhaka, Bangladesh
Lebanon needs to form new cabinet

Off the track

Lebanon needs to form new cabinet

Dana Halawi

Mohamad Choucair, head of Lebanese Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture, said that Lebanon’s economy can only be saved if the cabinet is formed very soon. “If the cabinet is not formed very soon, there will be a tremendous pressure on the Lebanese economy,” Choucair told Xinhua in an exclusive interview. Choucair said that the cabinet formation will send a positive signal to the international community. He said that there are projects worth 3.3 billion U.S. dollars that are ready to be funded by Arab funds and the World Bank at low interest rates once the government is formed. “If this money goes into the market in 2019, it will create around 70,000 job opportunities and 3-percent growth,” he said. Choucair noted that the government’s formation will bring optimism to the country because the cabinet will be able to launch the second round of oil and gas exploration in Lebanon. He added that the government will also approve a law for cannabis cultivation for medical use which will create huge revenues for the treasury. It is estimated that the cannabis cultivation will create an industry worth 1 billion dollars. Another good news, to Choucair, is that the CEDRE conference will provide 11 billion dollars to revamp Lebanon’s ailing infrastructure and bolster its economy once the Lebanese government starts with necessary reforms. Lebanon has also a golden chance of building strong economic ties with China when the government is formed. “I was informed that China is ready to make an investment of 5 billion dollars in Lebanon if there is an active government willing to facilitate the Chinese investment,” he said. According to Choucair, the measures can include residency permits for Chinese people who are willing to invest and work in Lebanon, as well as easy procedures to establish work in the country. Choucair said that China is interested in almost all kinds of projects in Lebanon including the expansion of Tripoli Port, industrial zones, and building train stations. In addition to ties with China, Choucair also noted that Gulf countries have promised to remove the travel ban on their citizens to Lebanon if Lebanese officials succeed in forming a government. Around 22 agreements are expected to be signed between Lebanon and Saudi Arabia when the cabinet is formed, according to Choucair.

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