By Massoud A. Derhally
An electricity crisis in Lebanon is taking its toll on the country's economy, the Daily Star reported
An electricity crisis in Lebanon is taking its toll on the country's economy, the Daily Star reported.
Though the Lebanese government signed an accord to lease electricity-generating barges from Turkey to reduce the shortfall in supply, the vessels will not be operational until after the summer peak demand, the Beirut-based newspaper reported.
Lebanese businesses have been forced to use more costly and less efficient private power generators as a result the paper said.
Lebanon which came out of a 15-year civil war in 1990 has daily power outages throughout the country lasting from three hours to more than 10 a day depending on the location. Residents and businesses turn to power generators as result of the power rationing.
Electricite du Liban, the government subsidized company which provides electricity throughout the country receives between $1bn and $1.5bn annually from the state sapping the country's finances and contributing to the widening of the fiscal deficit.
Lebanon's budget deficit is projected to widen to 7.9 percent of gross domestic product in 2012 from 5.7 percent of GDP in 2011, as public spending continues to rise, the Daily Star reported, citing Citigroup.
A strike that just ended after three months by workers of the state-run EDL over pay, and their occupation of the company's headquarters has exacerbated the problem.
Lebanon's service-oriented economy which grew by an average of eight percent per year from 2007 to 2010 lost its momentum last year, slowing down to 1.5 percent, the slowest since 2006 when Shiite Hezbollah movement and Israel went to war. Lebanese economic growth will accelerate to about three percent this year according to the International Monetary Fund’s forecast.
I am a Lebanese living in the UAE for the last eight years. Each year we travel to Lebanon twice or three times for vacationing and visiting relatives. This year I went to Lebanon for ten days, and I could not wait to leave.
Every time we visit we find it to be less attractive to go to. The lack of electricity is one thing, but the other things that drive us crazy are the way people drive, how inconsiderate a lot of people have become, how expensive every thing has become, the indiference of public and private employees, etc.. Our parents came from Canada for a six months visit, and atfer one month they cannot handle it anymore, they are packing it in and leaving back to Toronto.
Lebanon is my home country and I love it to death, however the way things are going (DOWNHILL) I am not sure whether we will visit except when absolutely necessary. I wish people would boycot going for vacationing next year, so we can tell our politicians that we are FED UP TOO!! At least I AM!