Lebanon plans $800m stimulus package
Beirut, November 13, 2013
Lebanon's central bank said a planned stimulus package for 2014 will offer around $800 million of incentives to support the country's economy, hit by war in neighbouring Syria and political turmoil at home.
The programme will boost youth employment and help make the country more competitive, with the technology sector a priority, central bank Governor Riad Salameh said in a statement sent to Reuters on Wednesday.
He had said in September the package would be funded by commercial banks, partly underwritten by the central bank.
Lebanon's economy grew around 8 percent a year between 2007 and 2010, but growth has been relatively sluggish since the collapse of a unity government and the start of Syria's uprising in 2011.
Tourism and construction, two mainstays of the economy, have both suffered, with violence and political instability scaring off wealthy Gulf visitors and some investors.
Finance Minister Mohammed Safadi said two weeks ago that growth this year will be as low as 1.0 or 1.5 percent and may grind to a complete halt next year if the Syrian war drags on, fuelling instability in Lebanon.
Also in September, Salameh told Reuters a $1.46 billion stimulus package for 2013 had been vital in bolstering the economy, saying he expected growth of between 2.0 and 2.25 percent this year. - Reuters