Who we are?
On the occasion of the centennial of Lebanon, the identity of our country, a long
time considered “the window of the Middle East”, is in danger. Lebanon was built
on the principles of individual, economic, and cultural freedom, freedom of
expression, press, thought, belief, and enterprise. These values are threatened
For us, being Lebanese is having a Freedom in Action.
As Pope John Paul II said: "Lebanon is more than a country: it is a message of freedom and an example of pluralism for the East and the West".
Our country is going through one of the most devastating political crises in a century. Tied to a confrontational regional political project, the public authorities and the majority of the politicians have slipped into many mistakes, thus deliberately accentuating and amplifying the crisis, despite local and international warnings. They have led the country to slope into hell, some driven by their ideological choice, and others by their incompetence and ineffective political practices.
The carelessness of Lebanese politicians, and the inertia of the main economic players, coupled with the incompetence of the government, which is as corrupt as its predecessors, are responsible for the illicit delay in implementing real reforms and fighting corruption and waste of public wealth. They seek to burden the private sector by the result of their wrongful choices, which drove the country to sink. They are trying to control the country's private wealth post taking over the public one.
This current situation, which is a direct result of ignoring the law, losing sovereignty, and lacking good governance, is contrary to the primary vocation to neutrality (national pact), the essential principal of peace in Lebanon, and prevents it from capitalizing on its resources and assets to become an investment hub, once again. It encourages the parallel economy at the expense of legal businesses and individuals. It deprives the state of significant resources, amplifying its deficit and its inability to intervene. It encourages community withdrawal and triggers the feeling of injustice and contempt towards the nation and its leaders, endangering the Lebanese model of "living together" which is based on a mosaic of social classes, origins, faiths and aspirations. Finally, it directly threatens the Lebanese private sector, and the economic and commercial freedom, which have made Lebanon prosperous, created the middle class, and lead to the country’s openness to the world.
The private sector, through its dynamism and creativity, has been, over the years, the engine of economic growth and the source of sustainable jobs and businesses. And it intends to retain this role. Hence, we call on governments to put in place an operational environment that supports this growth, while guaranteeing social justice and protecting of fundamental rights of people, including that of entrepreneurs. The state must be both, a regulator and an essential provider of services to citizens and businesses. It must ensure this dual role in a fair, agile, efficient, and transparent manner while respecting the law via an independent justice unbiased by political power. We therefore encourage a continuous dialogue between public institutions and the private sector to safeguard this environment.
Inspired by the fundamental principles of the Lebanese constitution, and in symbiosis with Bkerke's declaration on neutrality, the essential International Conference, and the principles of the Taef agreement, we believe that the private sector players (entrepreneurs, members of liberal professions, executives and employees) must position themselves as essential interlocutors and players in any immediate rescue strategy or long term recovery plan. Initiatives are emerging, whether economic or targeted to combine efforts, all having the merit to require reforms and converging solutions with a fairly broad common base. Many business leaders and players are ready to jump in into such initiatives which would lead to a better and more organized community, and able to be proactive. We want to join.
Our mission will therefore be to:
• Bring together the forces of the private sector: employers, employees, unions and economic bodies, in order to raise our voices; hence, using the media to advise citizens and decision-makers in this regard.
• Restore the dialogue between the key economic players, mainly the various segments of the private sector and local and international bodies.
• Present an economic recovery plan, which would have been developed together, addressing to the needs of productive private sectors, and which fully or partially safeguard around 900,000 jobs that this sector secures.
• Use the powerful network of our diaspora around the world, and leverage on the support of “friends of Lebanon”, for a successful plan.
Take action to save Lebanon