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Livelihoods: Hotel occupancy 20%, exemptions for loan defaulters….


The head of the Hotels Syndicate in Lebanon, Pierre Ashkar, said the hotel occupancy rate is very weak, barely hitting 20% in the capital and nearly nil (0%) outside Beirut. In an interview, December 29, with Sputnik, Ashkar said he expected a large number of Lebanese expats in Lebanon during the holiday season, which is true, but that the majority stayed in homes not in hotels. He explained that the sector is critically linked to the political and security stability, noting that the only way out is the formation of a new cabinet that will win trust of the parliament as well as the international community. On the other hand, the minister of public works in the caretaker government, Yousef Finianos, issued on December 29, a directive to Lebanese ports requesting the exemption of all cars shipped to said ports from all late fees imposed on relevant delays. This comes as part of measures to alleviate additional costs and huge losses incurred on car importers after the suspension of banking facilities and limits on withdrawals, which prompted many dealers to shut down their auto sales showrooms. In a related development, the parliamentary finance and budget committee approved, in its last session, a draft proposal to suspend until end of June, the measures taken by banks against defaulters requiring them to pay loans backed by Banque du Liban, with a retroactive effect as of the first of October. Noting, that exemptions include various housing, industrial, agricultural, technological and environment related loans. Meanwhile, Lebanon received on Saturday the first batch of gasoline to the Zahrani Oil Installations, after ZR Energy won the state-run tender, in the presence of caretaker minister of energy, Nada Boustani. (Al Akhbar, An Nahar, Al Diyar, December 30, 2019, January 4, 2020)

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