16 April 2023

In today’s globalization, there are no boundaries.

What measures can be taken to support the industrialists in terms of electricity shortage?



The Lebanese industrialists have been facing numerous challenges for long years. Still, despite the incumbent hindrances - mainly the policies adopted by successive governments, that did not embrace nor believe in the industry’s vital role in boosting the Lebanese economy- industrialists managed to overcome these obstacles and succeeded in entering the most demanding global markets such as the United States, Europe, Australia, Canada, and Japan, in addition to the Gulf’s brotherly and friendly countries and Africa. 

These successes stemmed from the industrialists’ perseverance and determination to renew and develop their businesses; considering most Lebanese entrepreneurs are family businesses tied to legacy, reputation, family name, and stature. You pointed out that electricity shortage; is just one of many other issues industrialists are facing. It is a significant matter, but its solution is widely associated with a comprehensive reform plan for the electricity sector in Lebanon, an increase in the number of power plants, and a grid between Egypt, Jordan, Syria, and Lebanon to supply energy and fuel.

Nevertheless, industrialists managed to equip their factories with private generators that do the job. However, the ministry`s role was crucial in curbing these

needs; it had and still is deploying all its efforts to cover this shortage mainly through joint projects with UNIDO and the EU. These projects include the use of alternative energy (solar power), the promotion of energy efficiency, and the rational use of energy.

Moreover, the MoI offered industrialists training programs, and provided assistance to SMEs in particular, by granting them funds and power-saving

equipment. It is worth noting that many other productive sectors do not rely heavily on energy in their production, which cuts down the bill. Electricity shortage remains the main issue for the factories that rely on energy in their production by 40% to 60%.


What is your plan in restoring the right balance in the Lebanese industry sector?


Today, the industry has become one of the main sectors and a vital foundation in the national economy. Industry’s contribution to the GDP has increased. This is an indicator of investment in new industries and an increase in the production of the existing ones. It is a sign of a healthy and prosperous national industry. Since I took office as the Minister of Industry, I started a purposeful campaign to encourage industrialists to comply with specifications in their production. This campaign has been accepted and welcomed by most industrialists that are already committed to quality standards – essential for the continuity and growth of their establishments and for the sustainability of the branding they inherited from generation to generation. We are also working on facilitating the issuance of industrial permits. As for the industrialists’ demands, I endeavor to find solutions with the relevant ministries and administrations. It is a virtuous circle. I believe industry and production in Lebanon are on the right track.


What is your plan in restoring the right balance in the Lebanese industry sector?


When we ignore the importance of energy efficiency, we are adding extra operating costs to any operation that is energy-dependent.

On the contrary, industrial energy efficiency reduces gas emissions and sets up the company to be profitable over the long term.

To prove that, I will refer to a study published in the “Journal of Economics, Finance, And Administrative Science”, and conducted during the period (1990-2012) over 75 net energy-importing countries. The study revealed that there is a positive and statistically significant relationship between energy consumption and economic growth over the long term, where energy consumption contributes more to economic growth as the import dependence of the country decreases.

Not to mention, all companies experience a lack of energy resources. Hence, they will either choose to accept low financial growth through production with the existing energy resources or attempt to increase growth by meeting the uncovered part of energy demand through imports. This somehow proves how important industrial energy efficiency is on the profits of any company or the economy of countries in general.


Lebanon’s industry sector needs to increase its exports and lower its imports, how can this be achieved considering Lebanon's Lira depreciation and subsidies lift?


In my opinion, the Lebanese national currency depreciation serves our industrial exports. Statistics show an increase in exports of all productive sectors by 30% to 40%. Several industries even export all their production to foreign countries. As for imports reduction, the industrialists must import raw materials needed for their manufacturing, as well as the equipment, machines, and necessary supplies to equip, renew, and expand factories with new production lines. The imports of other products and goods are made by the trade sector and agents. Imports also witnessed a tremendous fall compared to previous years. The strong purchasing power - due to the injection of fresh dollars, either from salaries earned in dollars or from transfers made by the Lebanese diaspora to their families- played a drastic role in the import volume. This is a healthy indicator; it brings our trade balance into equilibrium, limits the outflow of dollars, and promotes the inflow of foreign currencies into Lebanon.


What new markets should the Lebanese industrialists be open to?


In today’s globalization, there are no boundaries. All markets are open to each other. Industrialists only must create a high-demand product that helps them penetrate borders and compete with similar items. Four years ago, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and

Emigrants appointed economic attachés in 20 countries with which we have vital trade relationships. These attachés are playing a crucial role by connecting Lebanese exporters with points of sale in these foreign countries. Additionally, the medium and large industries in Lebanon developed a foreign marketing department to contact their agents abroad. Since the Lebanese industrialists have reached the US, Europe, Japan, China, and Europe, I don’t think it would be hard for them to enter any other country. They just must stay focused and work hard. The MoI will support them as much as possible within its powers, through the simplification of procedures, proposal of new laws or amendment of the existing ones, or taking necessary measures and decisions to protect industrialists.


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