Beirut, January 26th 2021 – Following the government’s decision to extend the full lockdown to February 8th, including the full lockdown to the Industrial sector, the Association of Lebanese Industrialists (ALI) and Cedar Oxygen (CedarO2) an economic recovery platform, condemn the controversial decision that will cause shortages in Lebanese markets as well as risk jobs, capital inflows and livelihoods during the apex of the crisis.
Both ALI and CedarO2, strongly demand an immediate revision of the government’s decision which will cause a complete halt on the core of the nation’s productive economy, which is highly needed by the country suffering from and extended Covid-19 surge. The Lebanese industrial sector is an active contributor to containing the impact on the Lebanese population through the production of health, hygiene and safety products, in addition to providing competitive products to supply local food and beverage demand at local currency prices versus imported products that drain the economy of much needed foreign currency liquidity.
ALI and CedarO2 believe that shutting down a vital part of the productive economy is not a viable solution and it will have strong negative long-term effects on a country that is already facing insurmountable challenges, and will severely limit chances to reboot the economy, raise employment, and bolster crucial trade in the foreseeable future.
Stopping exports as a result of closing the factories will lead in the short term to deprivation of local markets of much needed products at competitive local currency prices, and to the failure of manufacturers to fulfil export obligations that drive foreign currency into the Lebanese economy. In the medium term, international customers will divest from Lebanon, manufacturers will be forced to cut jobs and Lebanon will be more reliant on foreign exports than it is currently.
Industry can play a critical role in supplying local markets with competitively priced products, it can secure ever expanding flows of foreign currency, reduce reliance on imports and create much needed local jobs. Halting industry and manufacturing activities can only derail further a heavily impacted industry driving it towards an inability to recover capacity.
Since the beginning of the pandemic and even in complete lockdown scenarios, European countries have allowed basic sectors, especially industry and services to work to secure life supplies and consumer goods for citizens. Looking at the French example, many lessons can be applied as of today as regards safety measures for the Lebanese Industrial sector.
Some measures recommended by the Ministry for Labour and Employment in France are:
To access to the manual, please visit the French Ministry for Labour and Employment’s website:
On top of the above, the Association of Lebanese Industrialists is committed to implement the following measures:
Cedar Oxygen (CedarO2) and the Association of Lebanese Industrialists (ALI) strongly suggest implementing the above solutions that are mindful of all the health concerns surrounding the Covid -19 pandemic. On top of this and as part of their joint mission to support the Lebanese Industrialists and promote the “Made in Lebanon” initiative, ALI and CedarO2 are issuing a national call to all Industrialists and economic stakeholders to take advantage of the current situation in order to reorganize, prepare and rebound stronger once the full lockdown is lifted.
Therefore, CedarO2 is proposing several actions in order to support the industrial sector during this difficult period:
The lockdown is indeed a huge blow to the Industrialists unable to operate, but it is also an opportunity to take a step back and refine all their needs once the lockdown is lifted, such as raw material and financing needs. The more applications are completed and approved during this period, the more financing will be available as soon as the lockdown is lifted.
We are mobilizing all our resources and teams in Paris and in Beirut in order to support our industrial sector and make sure that all financing demands are completed and answered in very short periods.
This is a unity call made by Cedar O2 and ALI to both the government institutions to reconsider and evaluate their current and future decisions based on best practices adopted by countries like France, and to Industrialists to proactively position themselves for a return of activity with readily available financing lines.
Signed by Cedar Oxygen
Signed by the Association of Lebanese Industrialists
Dr Fady Gemayel