The Faculty of Business Administration & Economics at Haigazian University organized a round table conference titled “the Macroeconomic Aspects of the Lebanese Economy”, which took place on Friday the 23rd of February 2018, in the University’s auditorium. The two-hour conference, delivered by experts from the banking and hospitality sectors of the Lebanese economy, covered the fundamental elements of macroeconomics and analyzed its direct impact on the overall economy of the country.
In his welcoming address, Dean of the Faculty of Business Administration & Economics, Dr. Fadi Asrawi, introduced the topic of macroeconomics considering it as a vital indicator for the upcoming parliamentary elections, electoral campaigns and economic programs of candidates. “If the macroeconomic indicators are good they can easily guarantee a win, if bad it is usually a defeat in the election”, said Asrawi.
University President Rev. Dr. Paul Haidostian tackled two important concepts in macroeconomics: “environment”, being the air, the earth, the objects, etc … and “balance”, being the equilibrium in seeing all the mentioned above in their right place and side. Haidostian pointed out that “universities are called to prepare and promote balanced individuals for balanced economies.”
First to speak was the Vice Governor of the Lebanese Central Bank, Dr. Haroutioun Samuelian on “the Effects of Monetary Policy on the Lebanese Economy”. Samuelian shared with the audience the development and adoption of the convenient prudential rules and crisis prevention management framework by the Central Bank for the Lebanese economy. He explained how the conservative and prudent policies of the Central Bank fostered economic growth despite occasional political turmoil, thus, instilling trust and confidence in the Lebanese financial system and the Lebanese currency. These policies were mainly the conservation of the stability of the Lebanese pound with respect to the US dollar, the conservative and proactive monetary policy, the development of the Lebanese Knowledge Economy and giving credit incentives, and finally the Financial Engineering.
The Chief Economist and Head of Economic Research and Analysis at Byblos Bank, Dr. Nassib Ghobril, talked about the “Effects of the Exchange Rate Policy on the Lebanese Economy”. Ghobril introduced the Central Bank’s policy since 1993 of stabilizing the Lebanese pound and containing inflation; a policy that helped instill confidence in the monetary and banking system, thus helping banks attract deposits despite the political and security shocks in the country and the region. Ghobril considered that the main weakness of the Lebanese economy derives from the public finance imbalances, with a wide level of fiscal deficit and an elevated level of public debt, mainly due to the high level of public spending, massive expansion of the public sector, heavy bureaucracy, poor quality of public services and a weak infrastructure. Ghobril concluded his presentation by strongly recommending administrative reform across government institutions in order to reduce the fiscal deficit and to shift the financing of the public sector to the private one.
In her presentation entitled “the Effects of the Economic Fluctuations on the Hospitality Sector”, General Manager of Phoenicia Beirut and Le Vendôme InterContinental Hotels, Ms. Dagmar Symes, described the hospitality sector as the “emotional industry” of a country’s economy, therefore the most highly exposed and affected by environmental and political turmoil. Lebanon being a small country in the Middle East, Symes reiterated the fact of the critical dependence of the Lebanese economy on tourism, pointing out to the Lebanese government’s efforts in undertaking intensive marketing and crisis management strategies, in addition to educational awareness programs to boost the tourism industry and present Lebanon as a “destination” in the region.
All sessions were moderated by Faculty Member Garabed Boghossian. An interactive Q&A followed every guest speaker, allowing the audience to share their thoughts and questions regarding the topic.
The symposium concluded with a luncheon in the Mugar Hall.
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