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French Version

Business news in brief

* Lebanon's agro-exports up 63 percent

Agricultural exports through IDAL's Export Plus program recorded a 63 percent increase to reach nearly 212.8 thousand tons in comparison with the same period last year, as the Investment Development Authority for Lebanon continues to subsidize farm products tagged for export.

According to a statement, IDAL paid an installment of the subsidies on Tuesday. Thus, IDAL has paid, as of the beginning of 2004 till April 2004, LL12 billion (around $8.5 million).
With respect to the leading importing countries, Saudi Arabia was ranked first, importing 27 percent of Lebanon's total agricultural exports (around 57,000 tons). Kuwait came second with 21 percent.
Citrus fruits were 34 percent of the total exports, followed by potatoes with 18 percent.
The government started the Export Plus program a few years ago to help Lebanese farmers export their products.
IDAL covers all the export expenses but it stipulates that all fruit and agricultural produce must meet international standards.


* Magistrate questions Bank al-Madina official

Beirut Investigating Magistrate on duty Elias Eid questioned on Thursday Bank al-Madina's executive secretary, Rana Qoleilat, regarding a lawsuit against her by the bank's board chairman, Adnan Abu Ayyash, for issuing a bad check.
Eid then postponed the hearing session to Sept. 15 to question other suspects in the case.
Meanwhile, Abu Ayyash filed a lawsuit with Mount Lebanon Chief Investigating Magistrate Joseph Qazzi against Qoleilat, Imad Ahmed, Bilal Sayegh and the bank for embezzlement and money laundering.
Qoleilat is currently arrested on charges of forging two letters issued by the Central Bank, violating the Credit and Loan Law in the bank and issuing bad checks to Abu Ayyash and others.


* Investigations into oil deal squandering postponed

Chief Investigating Magistrate in Mount Lebanon Joseph Qazzi postponed Wednesday his investigation into the case of public funds squandered through illicit oil deals.
Qazzi also rejected the requests to release four people who were arrested in the case, the adviser of the Energy Minister, Majed Qostatine, Etienne Gaby, Elie Semaan and Bilal Ghaddar.
Separately, Qazzi approved the release of the head of the Exchange and Transfer Section at Bank al-Madina, Walid Nassif and deputy general director at the Allied Credit Bank Rashid Najjar on LL50 million bail for each, in the case of violating the Credit and Money Law.


* Humayed, Baarini meet mayors from Akkar

Energy and Water Minister Ayoub Humayed and Akkar MP Wajih Baarini met with several mayors from the Akkar region and discussed several of their demands regarding water, electricity, and the speeding up of construction projects to finish before the winter.
Humayed said, "Akkar is Lebanon's silo ... yet it remains thirsty," adding up that it had not been "looked after throughout the past years."
He showed interest in helping out the region within the possible available capacities.
Humayed also agreed to light-up the villages by adding up the number of lighting poles on the streets as long as the mayors give him the names of those villages.


* Kuwaiti MP proposes association to promote ties

Kuwaiti MP Mohammed Fajji has proposed the creation of a Lebanese-Kuwaiti friendship association to promote bilateral relations and overcome obstacles.
Fajji, a business member of the Kuwaiti Chamber of Commerce and Industry who visited the speaker, the prime minister and other officials, said Sunday the association would strive to solve the obstacles hindering the work of Lebanese businessmen in Kuwait and Kuwaiti businessmen here.
"This would reduce the burden on the embassies of both countries," he said.
Fajji, who said the association would have offices in Beirut and Kuwait, asserted that its role is "non-political."

Beirut 06-09-2004
The Daily Star

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