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Here’s How We Made a Lasting Impact in May 2019
LIMS Opens The Battle of Electricity Distribution 
May 26, 2019- Megaphone Online Platform, Beirut, Lebanon
 
The Ministry of Energy amended the electricity plan to allow private companies to finance, build, and operate power plants. This reform would provide 24 hours of electricity to the Lebanese population but it won’t cover the financial deficit of the state-owned Electricité du Liban. In an interview, Dr. Mardini stated that the government losses on electricity are due to the distribution, not the production of electricity. Therefore, he suggested changing the distribution service providers’ contract to electric distribution companies, where they bear the risks of uncollected bills instead of the government.
Serious Budget Reforms Needed to Make Positive Changes 
May 1, 2019- VDL Radio Station, Beirut, Lebanon
 
Lebanon faces two challenges in reforming the government’s budget: reducing the deficit and improving growth; yet, the government focus remains on increasing taxes only. During his radio interview, Dr. Patrick Mardini insisted on shifting infrastructure investments to the private sector that would handle the financial burden and offer a better service.
 
He suggested following the example of the electricity sector where independent power producers (IPPs) were allowed into the market. Residents could have new and improved roads, dams, internet, and telecommunication services all managed and owned privately without any cost on the government.

Increased Fees and Taxes to Reduce Lebanon’s Growth Rates
Dr. Mardini then criticized the new taxes imposed by the government on the private sector, when many businesses are already closing and facing risks. Lebanon is on the wrong side of the Laffer Curve and additional taxes will reduce rather than increase government revenues. On the other hand, forcing commercial banks and the central bank to lend to the state at low-interest rates will increase their risk and eventually cause a devaluation of the domestic currency.
Click Here to Listen to the Interview in Arabic
Restriction on Trade Inflates Prices on Low-Income Families
May 24, 2019- Al Joumhouriya Newspaper, Beirut, Lebanon
 
The government decided to impose customs fees on twenty imported items including construction items, food, and other consumer goods. The claim is that this initiative will protect domestic industries, decrease the trade deficit, and create more job opportunities. Dr. Mardini explained that the trade deficit decreased to the third of what it was in the nineties and is financed by expatriates and foreign investments in real-estate, factories, etc. Protectionism encourages monopolistic behavior and allows local companies to increase prices and profits in the short run, but eventually causes deterioration in quality, due to the lack of competition. 
Gov’t Exaggerates 2019 State Revenue Budget by 1.7 Trillion Lebanese Pounds 
May 28, 2019- An-Nahar Newspaper, Beirut, Lebanon
 
Dr. Mardini addressed the 2019 budget in an interview stating that increasing taxes on companies will encourage some to evade taxes and other to close and get out of business. The occupancy fees for instance will lead to less reservations in Lebanese hotels, which will be a hit to the tourism industry. The sector is already suffering from high-costs like electricity, water, and internet and cannot bear extra taxes. Also, increasing customs duties on imports will lead to higher prices and retaliatory customs by foreign countries on Lebanon. 
 
Lebanon’s Taxation Takes Hefty Toll on Businesses 
May 1, 2019- New Lebanon Online Magazine, Beirut, Lebanon 
 
Despite the expected economic growth of 2%, Lebanon only achieved 0.2% in 2018. The 2018 tax increase is hitting the economy since tourism dropped by 5.8% and construction by 5.3%. Dr. Mardini is expecting a “negative economic growth for 2019” given the government’s appetite for additional taxes. Those taxes make it harder for businesses to enter Lebanon, therefore causing them to flee to other competitive countries such as Egypt, Turkey, Greece, and Iraq. He explained that the focus should be on attracting businesses by lowering tariffs and making it easier for companies to operate. 
 
The Inspire 2019 Europe Liberty Forum
May 9-10, 2019- Hilton Hotel, Athens, Greece
 
In a 2-day event, organized by ATLAS Network and KEFiM, over 200 attendees from 44 countries gathered in Athens to discuss challenges facing Europe and exchanged solutions for effective ideas defending freedom. LIMS Director Ms. Kristelle Mardini presented the institute’s Leaders’ Academy -LLA at Crowdsource Liberty and highlighted the program’s value of introducing free-market ideas to the young staff of political parties. She proposed opening LLA to participants from Arab-speaking countries that suffer from interventionist policies.
Click Here to View Photos
Transforming Lebanon to Major Tech Hub
May 18, 2019- Averroes Academy, Rabat, Morocco

LIMS’ Senior Policy Analyst Mr. Majdi Aref explained in an article the spectacular effect of internet penetration on the world. From the increase in sales, to product discovery, and eventually economic growth, he emphasized on the importance of having access to fast and reliable internet. Mr. Aref also expressed his disappointment with this service in Lebanon which ranked 127th out of 130 in speed and 71st out of 92 in price. He finally explained that this is due to the government monopoly on the telecommunication sector hindering any possibility of improvement.
Click Here to Read the Article in Arabic
LIMS Leaders' Academy
  • LLA 101: Connect to Prosperity
    Registration Closed
     
  • LLA 201: Economic Foundations for a Free & Prosperous Lebanon
    June 15 - 16, 2019 - Click here for pictures
     
  • LLA 301: Shaping Public Policy
    July 20 - 21, 2019
     
  • LLA 401: Policy Fair
    October 2019
LIMS Welcomes New Team Member: Meet Sarah Tudjani
 
Sarah Tudjani is the new administrative assistant at LIMS. She handles the institute’s logistics from maintaining the organization’s calendar to arranging meetings and coordinating events. She is currently working on the LIMS’ Leaders Academy initiative. Sarah, a multicultural individual, lived in Ghana until she was 19 years old, then moved to Lebanon to pursue her studies. She is currently completing her master’s degree in business administration and marketing at the University of Balamand.
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Lebanese Institute for Market Studies · Dam w Farez, Mazloum Hospital St., Hala Center · Tripoli 961 · Lebanon

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