Caretaker Information Minister Walid Daouk said on Friday that the real estate sector in Lebanon is of the largest attractive sectors for local, Arab and foreign investments.Daouk made an intervention today during the "Investment organizations in Iraq: Toward building an investment stimulating administrative frame" conference, organized by The Chairman of Iraq's National Investment Commission, Sami Al Araji, and the International Holding Group Director, Abbas Fawwaz.The conference took place at Phoenicia Hotel in Beirut in presence of caretaker Information Minister Walid Daouk, caretaker Industry Minister Vreij Sabounjian, caretaker State Minister Mohammad Fneish, the Iraqi Ambassador Raad Al-alousi, IDAL Head Nabil Itani and other concerned senior economic, social and political figures from Lebanon and Iraq.Daouk went over the Lebanese experience in investments.He said that despite the relative slowdown in the real estate market in Lebanon, due to the internal and regional situation, especially the repercussions of the war in Syria, prices withstood and remained stable.The Minister avowed that the future of this sector boded further prosperity."According to statistics of the General Directorate of Real Estate Affairs, the number of real estate transactions decreased by 4.5% during the first 11 months of the year 2013," he said and explained that in another country this rate would have downed to 50%.Daouk added that the total value of these same transactions mounted to $ 7.83 billion, i.e. witnessed an increase of 4.6% in the same aforesaid period.The Minister did not fail to laud the Lebanese Banking sector in that respect for supporting housing loans to facilitate the demands herein."The future of the real estate sector in Lebanon is very promising and the Lebanese development companies enjoy a special expertise in the nation, the Arab world and internationally, especially in Iraq, which we consider to be one of the most growing real estate markets in the Arab world," he said.The Minister affirmed that investment in the real estate sector was one of the most important pillars and the main engine of the economy as it has a vital role in circulating investments to dozens of others industries and sectors.As for Minister Fneish, he stressed in his word the need for a sound climate where there would be transparency, security and justice, deeming them to guarantee the presence of sound investments.Minister Sabounjian said that the Lebanese-Iraqi ties were historic and called for further joint projects in the business and investment fields.
"Iraq's embracement, preference and priority to the Lebanese businessmen are a motive for us to turn to this country and work in it," the Minister said.Fawwaz said in his word that the Iraqi government was asked to develop investment laws in Iraq and activate working mechanisms through facilitating the administrative routine, which is deemed to be one of the hurdles hampering activating sought formalities."Encouraging investment and attracting investors ought to be followed by modern laws that match the size of investments and the Iraqi economic force," he said.Head of IDAL (Investment Development Authority of Lebanon) Nabil Itani also spoke on the occasion and lauded Lebanon's potentials that made it a safe haven for investments in the region.Itani said that Lebanon's strategic geographical location, openness and ease of communication with countries of the world were among the most influential factors that bolstered investments, along with the financial environment characterized by a strong banking sector, a Banking Secrecy Act and a free transfer of funds.He called for working hand-in-hand to boost investments in the region and start creating a promising future.