How would you define the strengths of the Association of Lebanese Industrialists?
The Association of Lebanese Industrialists (ALI) represents the interests of the Lebanese Industrial body, voicing their concerns and problem to the concerned public authorities. The main objective is to increase the competitiveness of the manufacturing sector by lobbying for a business-friendly regulatory environment, and enhancing the public awareness regarding the positive, much needed impact of manufacturing on economic growth. We try all the time to provide our members a wide array of value added, market driven services, and maintaining sustainability of a strong association through continuous training and capacity building.
What changes in your strategies did you have to make in order to help your members in this crisis?
Industrial Sector was always in a state of crisis, even before October 17th. We were always threatened by extensive operating expenses, loose cross-borders and dumping of products in local markets, and a “hostile” business environment due to old and obsolete business and tax regulations. The crisis has added the financial component which represented a vital threat, especially for industries relying on the local market, because of their inability to secure hard currency to finance the import\purchase of raw materials. ALI succeeded, after re-prioritizing their objectives, focused on providing adequate solutions for this crucial issue: ALI Lobbied with BDL to establish the Oxygen Fund, which represents a Fintech platform to provide financing solutions to Industrialists, and with the cooperation and pressure of the Ministry of Industry, BDL also allocated $ 100M from its reserves to enable industrialists to use their own funds stuck in Lebanese Banks to finance the same purpose.
What have you learned in the last 18 months? What could you have done differently?
As Industrialists, we have confirmed our previous convictions on the importance of directing our efforts towards boosting our exports and promote industrial activities as the most important engine of growth for the Lebanese Economy. As for ALI, the crisis had a positive impact on strengthening the relationship between the Association and its members, especially when members sensed in a tangible manner the tremendous efforts to fight the circumstances of the almost impossible operation under the Financial\Economic crisis, not to forget the pandemic crisis.
What are the objectives of ALI for 2021/2022?
ALI would proceed in implementing its strategy, of course after introducing the necessary changes to adapt to the current situation:
- Advocacy and Public Policy.
- Promote Industry Capacity as a source of Economy growth.
- Improving awareness of the Industry's positive impact on all levels.
What is your message for your members and partners?
The Lebanese Industrial sector has always proved its resilience despite all imposed factors counter-balancing its continuous efforts. As a reminder, the crisis for the industry didn’t start on October 17th, 2019, but much before that. A successful entrepreneur is the one who succeeds to transform a threat into an opportunity, and the opportunity is there: Currency devaluation closed the big gap in the trade balance and offered the Lebanese products a remarkable competitive advantage in both the local and export markets, it is the correct timing to invest in growth and quality of products to allow the industry regain its normal contribution in the national income Lebanon.
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