Lebanese industry still going forth – Feb 2012

Lebanese industry still going forth

Despite prevailing difficulties, Lebanon’s industrial sector is seeing increased employment, Industry Minister Vreij Sabounjian said in an interview. The food industry topped the list of acquired industrial licenses in 2011 with 22.3 percent, followed by furniture and wood industries, the ministry reported, putting Mount Lebanon as the top host location with 51.5 percent, followed by North Lebanon and Beirut with respectively 16.5 and 3.4 percents.

Sabounjian pledged for the installation of new industries in northern and southern Lebanon, as well as the Bekaa region, where he said the cost of land and labor is much lower.

The number of issued industrial licenses for the first half of 2011 reached 206 with an absolute maximum of 51 licenses recorded in March and a minimum of 21 in June.

The Ministry of Industry will be pushing for a number of measures to encourage investments in the industrial sector.

The Minister said discussions were taking place with the Finance and Economy Ministries to reduce the income tax on industrial exports after the Industry Ministry submitted a draft proposal to the government.

He also revealed that his ministry was in the process of drafting a law proposal providing incentives for the establishment of private export companies to create an opportunity for small industries to market their products abroad.

However, export figures are far from being satisfactory as they fell by 68 percent to Egypt, 12 percent to the United Arab Emirates and 10 percent to Iraq.