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Lebanese call from Cairo for import-substitution

18-4-2017

The president of the Association of Lebanese Industrialists (ALI) Fadi Gemayel called for increased productivity in all promising economic sectors and the reduction of import rate to the benefit of local production. Gemayel was speaking during the 44th Arab Labor Organization Conference held in Cairo between April 14 and 16. He emphasized the need to create jobs for Arab youth, noting that administrative reform policies and good governance tend to limit opportunities of employment in the public sector. This, Gemayel added, prompts the private sector to take the lead in bridging the gap and curbing unemployment. Gemayel pressed the need for boosting investments, especially those that facilitate the recruitment of young people and strengthen integration rather than rivalry in a bid to attract a diverse pool of investments in various countries which in turn eases the flow of products in a pan-Arab market of more than 350 million consumers. Gemayel urged businesspeople to activate the role of so-called Specialized Business Association in consolidating cooperation between members as well as intensifying meetings that establish joint investments in new markets, notably African markets. For his part, the chair of the Association of Arab Economic and Social Council, Roger Nasnas, said that the issues related to the role of entrepreneurship, vocational training and women's work all necessitate in-depth research into the notion of productivity. The latter, Nasnas stressed, withdraws in the absence of security and stability as well as with reduced demand. He maintained that social policy is fundamental to support living standards of low-income groups through the provision of health coverage, public education and addressing unemployment, stressing that growth declines with shrinking incomes and greater income inequality. (Al Diyar, April 13 and 14, 2017)

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