Central Bank chief is optimistic about the future , says Lebanese currency remains stable

riad salamehLebanon’s Central Bank  Governor Riad Salameh confirmed  on Tuesday that the Lebanese pound had remained stable

“Stability strengthens confidence in the economy and enhances purchasing power. We have extended subsidized loans for 19 years in an attempt to preserve institutions that endure circumstantial financial conditions,” Salameh said in a speech  during the launch of the Lebanese Forum for Small and Medium Enterprises.

“Lebanon enjoys [considerable] human capabilities and we do not fear for its future,” Salameh said.

The forum, entitled “Your needs are our challenges,” is taking place at BIEL.

Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) account for nearly 95 percent of companies operating in Lebanon, and they currently face fierce competition. This sector employs the largest number of Lebanese nationals

Economy Minister Raed Khoury announced new measures at the forum Tuesday that he said would contribute to the enhancement and development of SMEs’ capabilities.

In a statement made last week during a press conference attended by owners and managers of SMEs, Banque du Liban and the ministries of Tourism, Energy, Industry, Agriculture and Communications, Khoury said he expected the forum to issue feasible recommendations, to conclude a cooperation agreement with the World Bank to stimulate creation of jobs and to develop a plan to facilitate Customs procedures as well as a draft law to motivate the active presence of SMEs in international exhibitions.

Khoury also said that the forum enjoys the full support of President Michel Aoun and Prime Minister Saad Hariri. He expressed his hope that it might be the start of an economic renaissance – even predicting a staggering increase in Lebanon’s GDP over the next 7 years, from $52 billion to $100 billion.