Unveiling Lebanon’s Informal Economies and their Influence on the Formal Economy

Unveiling Lebanon’s Informal Economies and their Influence on the Formal Economy

March 22, 2024

RDCL, participated in a USAID’s Trade and Investment Facilitation (TIF) project TIFTalks session on Thursday, March 21st, titled “Unveiling Lebanon’s Informal Economies and their Influence on the Formal Economy.” The event, held at the Royal Hotel Dbayeh, brought together key stakeholders, including Mr. Nicolas Boukather, President of RDCL, representatives from USAID’s Trade and Investment Facilitation project, and private sector leaders.

The event shed light on Lebanon’s informal economies and their impact on the formal economy, with discussions revolving around the country’s risk of being placed on the Financial Action Task Force grey list. Mr. Boukather highlighted factors such as the cash-based economy, cross-borders under invoicing, counterfeits and undeclared illegal private sector contributing to the shadow economy.

Mr. Boukather underscored the challenges posed by Lebanon’s informal sector, citing examples such as the telecom estimation of the illegal internet market at more than 65% of the total market, unofficial employment data, syrian illegal work force and businesses along with the parallel market of generators business as indicators. He discussed the potential consequences of Lebanon being placed on the grey list, including additional impact on the image of Lebanon, cost of financing and transfers impact, foreign investment and corresponding banking transactions, making it more difficult and costly to transfer money in and out of Lebanon.
Moreover, Mr. Boukather emphasized the need for implementing existing laws and regulations to enforce transparency and accountability in Lebanon’s economic system. He noted that Lebanon does not suffer from a lack of laws but rather from their implementation, calling for urgent action to address these issues including the financial system restructuring, the state size and role restructuring, the pensions law much needed reforms, the nomination and activation complaint authority for the PPL law, the competition authority for the competition law among others.

He finally concluded with discussions on possible solutions, including introducing laws to enforce dollar-to-dollar loans repayment and amending revaluation laws to ensure accurate reporting and transparency in the private sector.

Below the link to watch the intervention:


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