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IMF proposes to open labor market for Syrian refugees!

20-4-2017

The European Department director of the International Monetary Fund IMF, Jeffrey Franks, advised Lebanon to facilitate the access of displaced Syrians to its labor market, which, he claimed, stimulates the growth of the local economy. Franks was speaking to the Lebanese delegation to the conference of Parliamentarians organized jointly by the IMF and the World Bank. On the other hand, Franks while acknowledging the fiscal burdens caused by the refugee crisis, disclosed that the IMF does not have solutions at hand to resolve the impasse. Earlier, yesterday, WB head, Jim Yong Kim, indirectly interfered in the country’s internal affairs when he made clear that the international community cannot help Lebanon unless it takes the initiative, insinuating in this respect to the lingering political vacuum in the country. (news: : http://lkdg.org/ar/node/16291). For his part, the minister for the displaced, Mouin Mer’abi rejected the IMP proposal warning, that Lebanon “will not accept anything imposed on it, and that the decision is exclusively with the hands of the Lebanese government.” During the Brussels negotiations, Mer’abi maintained, Lebanon’s demands were clear enough in this regard, particularly in terms of effective laws which restrict the work of Syrians to the construction, agriculture and small industries, noting that the local government is committed to comply with said regulations. But, while reiterating Lebanon’s inability to secure local labor for above sectors, Mer’abi acclaimed the crucial role of the Syrian workforce in the country’s post-war reconstruction. And in a strong indication of Lebanon’s popular and official rejection to IMF plans, a number of mayors and ”makhateer” in different Lebanese regions, have since the start of this year complained of fierce competition to Lebanese stores by Syrian-run shops. In this respect, the governor of the North, Ramsey Nahra, issued a directive last month ordering five shops in Tripoli and Baddawi be closed and sealed for being illegally run by Syrians. Similar decisions were taken by the municipalities of Naameh, Zgharta, Zahleh and Batrun.(Al Diyar, An Nahar, Al Mustaqbal, L’Orient Le Jour, April 4 and 20, 2017)

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