Beirut – Riyad Shooman
Head of the Joint Beirut Chambers of Trade, Industry and Agriculture Chambers in Lebanon and head of the Beirut and Mount Lebanon Chamber Mohammad Shkeir called the government to declare an economic
emergency “after we reached the edge, and normal solutions and measures can no longer help” according to his words in which he saw that: “A new direction is required to parallel the roughness of the crisis.”
Shkeir revealed in a statement Tuesday: “Bankruptcies are creeping into private sector institutions” and warned against: “The extension of this movement to reach many institutions in all sectors, especially tourism and trade which would threaten thousands of workers with layoffs and cut their means of living.”
Shkeir said that: “Everyone was waiting for summer to move the economic wheel and enable private institutions to make up for some of their losses. The incidents preceding this season, however, were sufficient to halt the launch. Despite this, we always hoped that conditions will be better and that we would be able to benefit from Eid al-Fitr but once again incidents, kidnappings and road blocking witnessed ended whatever hopes left.”
He added: “A quick look over some of the recorded figures shows the intensity of the blow to the economy, hotel bookings decreased by 90 percent in Beirut while they decreased by 10 to 15 percent in some regions."
"Commercial markets witnessed a decrease in buying and selling that reached 50 percent down in the capital Beirut and 90 percent in some regions. Agricultural products remained stacked with farmers after hindrances in exporting them. Other sectors are not in a much better condition as they too received a tough blow within the huge retreat in foreign investment flow especially Arab and Gulf money.”
Shkeir exclaimed: “This situation can not be disregarded anymore. The fate of hundreds of institutions and thousands of workers, even the fate of the whole economy has become at stake. Before all of this, I see it as my duty and responsibility to inform the public of the reality of what’s happening, as the critical nature of the phase requires everyone to say the truth without any equivocation to form a pressuring force to reform the path of political work in the direction of placing Lebanon at an objective stance from all that’s happening around us, and placing Lebanon’s interests and those of the people above all considerations.”
Shkeir called on “all leaders to assume their national and historical responsibility in this fatal stage before it’s too late."