Here’s How We Made a Lasting Impact in August 2019
Replicating the Successful Electricity Reform in the Water Sector  
August 11, 2019- Annahar Newspaper, Beirut, Lebanon 

After LIMS success in opening the electricity market to private power producers, we turned to water. Lebanon wastes most of the 4.5 billion cubic meters of water resources which raises the cost of water on households from $0.70 per cubic meter to $6 per cubic meter. Mr. Majdi Aref, Senior Policy Analyst at LIMS, advised to follow the example of Qatar, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates by allowing independent water producers (IWPs) into the market. Competition between IWPs will lead to a better service and relieve the government from the 7.527 billion dollar projected loans for water and wastewater projects. 
Click Here to Read the Article in Arabic
Private Electricity Producers Makes the Black Market Obsolete  
August 5, 2019- VDL Radio Station, Beirut, Lebanon

As part of the fiscal consolidation efforts, the Lebanese government decided to impose a new flat tax on small private electricity generators. Dr. Patrick Mardini explained this tax is not a reliable source of income to the government. Owners of those generators flourished on the black market in the past years when electricity production was illegal.  However, they will soon become obsolete since the law 129 voted by the Lebanese parliament on May 2019 allows independent producers to enter the market and build more efficient power plants. Therefore, he suggested turning the small generators owners into electric distribution companies (EDCs) given their exceptional performance in collecting electricity bills.
Click Here to Listen to the Interview in Arabic
Lebanon Credit Rating Downgrade 
August 22, 2019- VDL Radio Station, Beirut, Lebanon

With speculation on whether Standard & Poor’s will downgrade Lebanon’s rating, political pressure has been in effect to postpone the publication of the report. In his interview, Dr. Mardini highlighted that the reason behind the downgrade was the high fiscal deficit estimated at estimated 7.6% of GDP for 2019. The Lebanese government will need to borrow 4.4 billion dollars to finance deficit which would lead to a hike in interest rates, put pressure on the exchange rate, and eventually lead to the insolvency of the country. Dr. Mardini noted that the government has 6 months to reduce expenses by shifting infrastructure projects to the private sector before the next ratings report. 
Click Here to Listen to the Interview in Arabic 
Lebanon’s Default Pressures Exchange Rates 
August 5, 2019- New Lebanon Online Magazine, Beirut, Lebanon 

The Lebanese banking sector faces the burden of Lebanon’s possible sovereign default. The credit default swap on Lebanese government bonds tripled from 250 basis points (bps) in May 2018 to 800 bps in 2019. Dr. Mardini explained that depositors are worried about a devaluation of the Lebanese pound and they are therefore converting their money to dollar. He then noted that banks started to impose barriers to conversion which restricts the free movement of capital, increases uncertainty, and may lead to the collapse of the Lebanese pound. 
Click Here to Read the Article in Arabic
Increasing Taxes Reduces Government Revenues 
August 3, 2019- Annahar Newspaper, Beirut, Lebanon 

In order to finance the increase in public salary scale, the government introduced a set of new taxes in 2018. LIMS’ Senior Policy Analyst Mr. Majdi Aref explained that by doing so, government’s income decreased by 38 million dollars in 2018 instead of increasing, growth declined from 2.3% to 0.3%, and inflation rate increased to 6.1%. He argued that sound reforms would be to cut government spending by reducing employment in government, shifting investment costs to the private sector and shrinking the tax burdens. 
Click Here to Read the Article in Arabic 
Strategic Communication Workshop
August 21-22, 2019- Quantum House, Beirut, Lebanon 

6 civil society organizations attended the 2-day workshop hosted by Quantum Group to learn about the importance of social media presence and its practices. The company assessed LIMS’ marketing existence on social media, as well as other organizations using case study techniques. 

Sunday November 17, 2019


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