Now! That you’ve read the topic, you’re probably wondering who’s this “Idiot” who thinks Lebanon is going to boom economically.
But there are several angles to see the truth. From a financial perspective, the financial indicators according to the World Bank say that Lebanon is overwhelmed in debt, and has more than 75 billion dollars on his shoulders. In addition to that, we have a 13 billion dollars in trade deficit every year.
From a social perspective, we have an additional 1.5 million Syrian refugee; add the political instability, add the corruption.
Pretty depressing, right!
But let’s simplify the above language so everyone can understand.
1. We are in debt
2. We have an annual deficit
3. We have more people to feed
4. We are politically unstable
5. We are corrupt
VERY TOUGH SITUATION
But then I gaze outside my office window and I see this HUGE COMPLEX next to my building. One that was not there 7 months ago when I rented the place. It is a 10,000 sqm of commercial space. They are already in the 6th floor. Double shifts every day….. Non‐stop!
I can easily estimate that they have already spent 50 million dollars, including land acquisition, and it’s only 40% finished. There are 3 similar projects around Hazmiyeh only! Not to mention ABC Verdun & The Spot Shwayfat.
They are in a hurry! But why????… Why spend so much, so fast, in a country with a failed economy, and no prospects of growth? Am sure big investors see an opportunity, otherwise their act is simply irrational.
But this is not the only thing I see from my window. There is this huge bank Ad trying to market SME loans. Noting new… right! We see this Ad every year. But the budgeted amounts for SME loans as instructed by the Central Bank is 3 Billion dollars for 2017/2018. They need to boost the economy, they want to pump money into people’s hands so they can create their own jobs.
But what is the truth? …. Are we in deep shit? Or are we going to boom?
I am in a middle of a startup, and I needed answers, or the kids are gona go hungry! I wanted to understand things, so I started to ask myself, simple questions.
ARE WE IN DEBT?
Well! Technically we are in debt to ourselves, since more than 85% of our debt is owned by our local banks, Lebanese like us. So we don’t have to worry about them. They surely love their country and won’t ask for the money any time soon. As a matter of fact they keep lending the government with pleasure, due to the hefty interest rates they get.
On the other hand, what are our assets?
The central bank has approximately 250 billion dollars in foreign reserves and 12 billion dollars in stock gold.
We are a rich country buddy! We just don’t know it.
So the public debt is a HOAX!
ARE WE IN A LOSS EVERY YEAR?
I DON’T KNOW!!
We haven’t seen any audited report from the government since 2005, but how do the experts know what are truly the numbers, they don’t! they estimate.
I have a simplified answer to this predicament;
Yes we have an annual loss, which is the result of continues and intended government corruption and inefficiency. We cover this deficit by issuing Treasury Bills to our trustworthy banks at high interest rates that burdens our economy and fills the pockets of the bankers and politicians. SO, the correlation between government corruption and the public debt to local banks, is quite obvious.
So the annual deficit is a HOAX!
DO WE HAVE A REFUGEE CRISIS?
The way I see it, is that our consumer based economy intentionally added 1.5 million new customers!
The refugees do need to eat, sleep, dress, learn , transport, etc. and we have to cater for their needs. Again, the Tycoons we mentioned above “Bankers & Politicians”, make money off them, and ultimately off the Lebanese economy!
So the refugee thing is a HOAX!
ARE WE POLITICALLY UNSTABLE?
It’s been a year and a half with no major incidents. We’ve elected a new president! And politically, the parties started coming together after 2015 public movements. Smart move from our politicians.
After all, I do believe that external factors are the only reason a war might start in Lebanon. But the foreign countries have given us their blessings to prosper. Otherwise, how can you explain the election of president Aoun?
In addition, the reconstruction campaign of Syria & Iraq needs a stable sovereignty to operate from. They need a well established financial sector to channel money and investment as well as goods and services. Hence, Lebanon is a key player in the post war era of the region.
So the security thing is a HOAX!
ARE WE CORRUPT?
To this matter I will be bold and say that the Lebanese citizens are ones corrupt; and passive for not being able to see the above facts, and in turns always re‐elect the same leaders, who got accustomed to our passiveness. Because we fail to take matters into our hands, we fail to invest in our country like the tycoons do, we fail to see the obvious opportunities ahead.
I always say, the best time to invest, is when the economy is troubled, because you can create so many solutions that you end up getting paid for!
Invest in your country.