Hariri receives economic bodies: Electing a president will reflect positively on the political and economic levels

Former Prime Minister Saad Hariri received this afternoon at the Center House, a delegation from the economic bodies in Lebanon, headed by the Chairman of the Federation of the Chambers of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture of Lebanon Mohammed Choucair.

At the beginning of the meeting, Choucair said: “Some leaders know how to govern, and bring stability, prosperity and ease, and others make the people are hungry and tired.

This has been our situation for five years now, whether with the previous or the current government, despite the sincere efforts exerted by Prime Minister Tammam Salam and some ministers. This is our situation, glumness, fear, anxiety, losses, closing of institutions, unemployment, poverty, and even garbage.

Five years have passed, during which Lebanon has witnessed an unprecedented decline, socio-economically, ecologically, on the level of services and so on

For five years, the economic bodies and the private sector have been visiting officials and warning of the danger of the socio-economic situation, the vacancy in the presidency and the paralysis of the state institutions, but unfortunately nobody listened.

For five years, Lebanon’s foreign economic relations have been entirely absent from the concerns of the government. But we thank God that this file is outside the scope of political interference, and this is what enabled the bodies to fill these gaps and keep Lebanon on the economic map abroad, through the visits we made to Paris, Barcelona, Rome, Milan, Moscow, Riyadh, Jeddah, Doha, Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Amman, Cairo and finally to Limassol and Algeria.

We do not say that for the sake of slander or revenge, but because we know very well that you feel our pain and fear for the country, its economy, its institutions and its people, and we also know you and know this house, that only showed goodness to Lebanon and its people.

The situation has reached an unbearable level and we tell you frankly: we are on the verge of collapse. If this systematic damage of our relations with our brothers in the Gulf States, particularly with Saudi Arabia, which constitutes the strategic depth of our national economy, continues, we will reach economic collapse and social explosion.

Things have reached a point where reassurances, promises, and tranquilizers are no longer helpful. It is no longer possible to save the country from this evil except by electing a President as soon as possible, and forming a government led by Saad Hariri, because you are the only person who can restore confidence and tranquility in the hearts of people, and restore the confidence of Lebanese, Arabs and foreigners investors”.

For his part, Premier Hariri said: “I thank you all for coming to this house that always had a privileged relation with the economists and economic bodies, because when you are fine the country is fine.

There is no doubt that what the country is experiencing today is causing a deterioration in the social, health and economic life of all the citizens, and I am personally following up all what you were able to do at this stage.

We met last year, and since then we witnessed a serious decline on the economic level, as well as in the field of electricity, and the garbage is in the streets.

Today, we are in a new period where our relations with some countries are getting worse, particularly with the Gulf Cooperation Council states and especially the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. And you know what this relation means to Lebanon, especially if we look at Paris I, II and III Conferences, not to mention the donations, the Saudi, Emirati and Qatari funds, and the direct investments from individuals in the Gulf states in the sectors of tourism, industry or any other sector in Lebanon.

Some may not notice the damage that results from what some parties are doing to our relations with the Gulf Cooperation Council states. This is very dangerous, and you can sense more than ever the extent of the economic decline that reached a very dangerous level.

This is the ugly side of what we are experiencing today. But we all know that with any breakthrough in the country, like electing a president or forming a new government, the citizens will feel optimistic and the economic cycle will work again, and will create new job opportunities.

Our problem today is that we have been working without any prospect for the last two years. But when we elect a president and form a new government, whoever the prime minister is, the Lebanese will have hope and this will reflect positively on all levels especially the political and economic levels.

I know the situation is bad, but I am not pessimistic. Yesterday we went to the parliament and the elections did not take place, but there was a very clear sign, which was the presence of 72 MPs and we only needed 14 more to elect a president. There are four MPs from our bloc who are ready to join, and I invite you to pressure the other MPs and show them the dangerous situation that Lebanon is experiencing.

Our country is in the danger zone, and we are working on a daily basis to spare the country this danger. We succeeded in doing so until now, but the danger is still there and some may not see it but if it continues, its repercussions will reach every house in Lebanon.”

Hariri added: “Some may say that I am pessimistic, but in the documentary that was broadcasted on February 14, Martyr Premier Rafic Hariri stressed that we are not allowed to lose hope, and you as economic bodies should never lose hope.

We will elect a president and the economic and political situation will improve.

Consultations should continue between us to find ways to improve the situation in the country, and we are working with our economic team on several issues. We have a clear strategy and vision regarding the future of the country. We are ready for all challenges, but the important thing is to be able to give the people a ray of hope by electing a president.”

After that, a dialogue took place between Premier Hariri and the attendees. They called on him to intervene with the leaders of the Gulf Cooperation Council states, with whom he has very good relations, especially Saudi Arabia, in order to restore and improve the relations with Lebanon, because their deterioration will harm Lebanon and lead to further negative repercussions on the economic situation.

Premier Hariri said: “We should not lose hope. I can feel your suffering and I will do my best to elect a president because it will be the key for solving the crisis.”

Source: National News Agency