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French Version


EU team shares its experience with Lebanese businesses

Conference focuses on needs of small and medium-size firms

Small and medium-size business in Lebanon should apply more transparency and invest more money in staff training, said Patrick Renaud head of the EU delegation in Lebanon. "Competition is not an excuse for small and medium size businesses in Lebanon not improve their performance," Renaud told participants in conference on ensuring an appropriate climate for firms.

"Europe does not want to prescribe ready-made solutions but rather wants to share its experience and thoughts."

Citing an example of European success, Renaud said that European governments passed a law to cut through the red tape, modernize the solvency laws and improve credit facilities for small and medium size firms.

He added that Lebanon did not make good use of the 30 million euro aid to help small and medium businesses to finance instruments of support.

Roger Nassnas, the chairman of the Economic and Social Council, said that the council carried out a survey of 1,200 firms in Lebanon to diagnose their situation.

He added that 90 percent of the companies are family-owned businesses that employ less than 10 people each.

The government set up Kafalat Company few years ago to provide subsidized soft loans to small and medium-size firms.

Most of the loans come from commercial banks that get a support from the Central Bank.

Other participants at the conference noted that small businesses in Lebanon last longer.

Economy and Trade Minister Sami Haddad said that the private sector in Lebanon is very resilient and the best example is Beirut Central District which was built by the real estate firm Solidere after the end of the war.

"The small and medium-size firms are the backbone of the economy and they can easily adapt to any new environment."

Haddad underlined the importance of the next donor conference that will be held in Beirut before the end of the year to raise soft loans or grants to reduce the public debt.

Haddad reminded participants that some political quarters have foiled reforms attempts following Paris II conference. He added economic reforms will help stimulate the economy and create more jobs.

Beirut 03-10-2005
Osama Habib
The Daily Star



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