Beirut - Riyad Shuman
Haroutiun Samuellian, Deputy Governor of Lebanon's Central Bank, said the recent global financial crisis is paving the way for an expected economic recession in most of the developed countries, while it can be a positive sign on the other hand for developing countries, some of which achieve an average annual economic growth rate of 7 percent.
Interviewed by the Lebanese newspaper, Annahar, Samuellian said: "The tendency towards consumption in the developing countries is a threatening sign too, because it will lead to a rise in the fees of labourers in these countries, so this thing must be put into consideration. Allso the European dept crisis is expected to negatively affect the developing countries, China in particular, as a third of its foreign currency reserves are in euros, while the European market is the main consumer of products from China and several other developing countries."
Samuellian referred to the challenges still facing developing countries regarding infrastructure, as a recent World Bank study reported that one in every three citizens in developing countries has no electricity in the home. According to the same study, providing electricity in developing countries will require investments of about $6 trillion USD during the next three decades.
Asked whether he thought that developing countries have succeeded in forming a united economic front, he replied: "Yes, it is a noticeable thing in recent years, These countries' influence has considerably increased on the international side, particularly in selecting the officials of main international institutions, such as the International Monetary Fund, The World Bank and the United Nations. This is due to the growing economic weight of these countries."
Referring to the Lebanese economy he said that Lebanon was a unique model, as it didn't depend on buying European treasury bills, which caused huge problems for other countries in the region. "Our banks are healthy, and we don't have risky debts, but actually we achieve acceptable profits and our liquidity rate is high."
He said that the banking loan to the private sector was about $40 billion USD which is increasing leading to the growth of the gross national debt. It can be called a "clean debt system, which secures the economy cycle" he added.
Praising his superior, Samuellian said "the governor of Lebanon's Central Bank is the main guarantee for the banking sector in Lebanon. We can still remember the late nineties, which saw the Far East crisis, followed shortly by another crisis in Russia. The investors in these markets were able to compensate their losses there thanks to their investments in Lebanon. The Governor Riad Salameh, then recommended the Lebanese banks withdraw from the Russian market, so the Lebanese banks were able to avoid the consequences of this crisis."
He believes that the foundation and stability of the Lebanese economy is due to the conservative monetary policy adopted by Lebanon's Central Bank. " Lebanon has learnt valuable lessons from this crisis, and this has meant adopting policies that guarantee protection for the Lebanese and their national currency, this can be proved by the fact that Lebanon is now able to borrow with less benefits than other countries which are even listed as higher ranking economy han Lebanon," Samuellian concluded.