Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘corruption

How the Lebanese economy cannibalises itself

A horror State for enterprising people

14 August 2018

Conventional wisdom holds that Lebanese are born entrepreneurs—and it’s generally true, everywhere but in Lebanon itself.

They’ll succeed in Silicon Valley, carve out their own space in Nigeria and manage multimillion dollar projects in Saudi Arabia.

But a core reason for all this activity abroad is, precisely, how difficult it is to break through back home, in an economy that preys on small and medium enterprises (SMEs) while continuously feeding corruption and clientelism.  (And a small market and when regional trades are closed due to constant conflicts)

The ideal of the Lebanese entrepreneur nonetheless pervades Lebanon’s economic landscape. The Central Bank has (supposedly) dedicated over $400 million to support investments in the digital sector.

Western embassies bankroll incubators and mentoring programs expected to churn out the next generation of innovators.

Politicians in Beirut speculate that Lebanese companies will rebuild Syria.

And Lebanese elites recently attended a much-heralded conference in Paris, with the poorly defined goal of saving Lebanon’s economy through partnerships with the country’s private sector.

Amid all this haphazard bustle, conspicuously absent is a clear understanding of what makes the country’s entrepreneurial environment so self-consuming, especially when it comes to small-scale, productive ventures.

Unease of doing business

At first glance, setting up shop in Lebanon seems easy. Creating a limited liability company takes a matter of days and requires modest capital–5,000,000 LP, or slightly over $3,000.

Yet serious problems soon arise.

As the owner of several high-end restaurants put it: “Being an entrepreneur in Lebanon is effortless for the first 48 hours. After that, it becomes virtually impossible.”

At a macro level, the World Bank’s “ease of doing business” indicator—which measures regulations and procedures to open and run a company—ranks Lebanon below the already dismal average for the Middle East and North Africa.

From poor infrastructure to labyrinthine bureaucracy and a nonsensical regulatory environment, the challenges to successful business are myriad.

While no single issue in and of itself is necessarily prohibitive, problems pile up to the point where little gets done.

Simply paying bills and taxes can be extraordinarily time-consuming, and therefore resource-intensive.

Your phone? Set a reminder to go to the local branch of the national supplier once a month, where you will queue at the counter to avoid being disconnected for pending invoices.

Electricity? Chase down both the owner of the neighborhood electricity generator (private energy provider) and the representative of the public electricity provider, who have an uncanny tendency to show up outside office hours.

A lucky business opportunity? Submit hard copies of your contract to the Ministry of Finance within five days of signature, or risk penalties.

Taxes? Drive to the bank through heavy traffic, fill out forms, get a banker’s check, and bring it to the Ministry of Labor—each time a specific tax is due.

Merely collecting a receipt conforming to state-imposed standards may entail waiting at a special counter to acquire a size A4 printout complete with various stamps and signatures.

Such rules are a nuisance made worse by the almost comic lack of clarity regarding their application.

In 2017, the country spent months wondering if the value added tax, or VAT, was 10 or 11%—while national politicians dithered on the matter.

That same year, the government bumped up social security contributions retroactively and with no advance notice. In 2018, tax evaders enjoyed a sudden, sweeping amnesty.

In short, entrepreneurs simply cannot trust existing laws to provide consistency.

Foreign investors or employees can be denied work or residency permits that they are formally entitled to, if they fail to play by the system’s informal rules—namely through kickbacks and commissions.

“I have been waiting for visas for two Chinese nationals for three months,” grumbled the founder of a digital startup. “Now I am told that I can only get one and I have to choose whom to give it to—there is no logic to it.”

Essential aspects of a business-friendly legal framework are missing entirely.

In particular, Lebanon does not enforce intellectual property rights. It also lacks, amazingly, a bankruptcy law.

As a result, it is virtually impossible to shut down an existing company. “What we do is that we wait for five years, deliberately not doing anything,” explained a public accountant. “That’s how far back the Ministry of Finance can go to ask for documents in our archives. Then it’s over. The company continues to exist in perpetuity, but is considered dormant.”

On top of structural impediments to business, the Lebanese environment also throws up sporadic, petty obstacles—notably in the form of official negligence that sometimes borders on sabotage.

The owner of a street food restaurant, having incurred a devastating sewage leak in front of his establishment, recounted: “I called the municipality and heard that they couldn’t come for the next two weeks. So, I had the road fixed myself. I pay taxes and also foot the bill for public works.”

A trader in perishable goods shared another horror story: “I have to import my cargo in refrigerated containers, because the port administration delays my merchandise so much that it goes to waste. That would be expensive in itself if I didn’t have to send someone every day to check that they don’t unplug the air conditioning!”

The broker economy

In typical Lebanese fashion, SMEs have responded to this obstacle course not by lobbying for reforms, but through makeshift solutions that have become part of the system.

The entrepreneurial spirit that exists is, unfortunately, predominantly invested in navigating the economy’s structural deficiencies, rather than investing in its potential.

As a result, a sector has flourished around intermediaries who position themselves between SMEs and the numerous public administrations they must contend with.

Most companies retain at least one full-time employee whose sole function is to carry out the pesky, menial tasks that are essential to running a business in Lebanon—such as spending a day in traffic to pick up and deliver a banker’s check, for a service that could easily be done over the internet.

Such errands multiply in ways that often seem absurd: Subscribing to the state electricity grid requires a rental contract that must be approved by the municipality, a formality which can take days without a dedicated middleman.

Banks themselves have turned this go-between function into a remarkably profitable service.

They will settle a company’s internet, mobile phone and electricity bills for $5 per invoice per month. That may sound expensive, and it is—but it is still appealing compared to the resources otherwise wasted in transportation, parking and queuing.

Another form of mediation consists in buffering SMEs against Lebanon’s convoluted fiscal and legal framework.

Accountants and lawyers are essential allies in sustaining any enterprise, not so much by clarifying the rules, but by capitalizing on their inherent flexibility.

Accountants often use personal connections and bookkeeping wizardry to find arrangements with the Ministry of Finance to circumvent penalties or minimize taxes.

Lawyers tend to tap a higher-profile network to resolve more serious obstruction originating within specific public institutions.

Brokers help negotiate relations with the authorities at all levels.

While red tape and inefficiencies are in no way unique to Lebanon, the amount of time, energy and money that Lebanese must spend to overcome them is indeed special.

Business would prove literally impossible without such efforts. For instance, a digital startup operating outside of Beirut only gained decent access to the internet via an old friend at the Ministry of Communications.

Bigger problems require higher level brokers, leading many companies to operate under the umbrella of political patrons, or zuama.

These public figures (militia leaders of civil war in power) , who typically trade favors for electoral support, have the power to unlock seemingly hopeless situations. They are the ultimate brokers, to the point where their goodwill can become an existential issue.

Compete with the wrong people and you may soon see ordinary problems multiply, to the point of putting you out of business.

This phenomenon is deeply entrenched, not least because it dates back generations.

In his History of Beirut, Lebanese historian and journalist Samir Kassir refers to the handful of families who controlled the economy up to the mid-1970s as “the consortium.” They dominated imports from the US—then the country’s major trade partner—and economic pillars such as finance, services and industry.

Members of the consortium were either directly involved in politics or enmeshed with the political elite.

Today’s system functions in similar fashion, with small groups of individuals running oligopolies in key fields of activity, where competition is minimal and returns inflated.

Such profits provide the happy few with ample financial capacity to deal with all the problems mentioned above—by hiring a host of assistants and brokers, bribing bureaucrats, or giving kickbacks to the political patrons on whom their businesses depend.

Rent extraction

Generally speaking, entrepreneurship in Lebanon is heavily constrained by a number of very high barriers to entering the market.

Communication services are among the most expensive in the world.

Basic postal services likewise: “Even with higher labor costs and taxes and stricter regulations, France and Germany have lower delivery costs than we do,” raged the CEO of a delivery company.

Trivial banking operations are outrageously priced, and hourly rates for ordinary legal counsel can easily reach hundreds of dollars.

Standard accounting fees are officially set at 5,000 USD per year, even when minimal work is required. The CEO of a social impact company described his astonishment upon the discovery: “I asked for a few quotes and they all gave me the same figure. I had no employees and little activity. I thought, ‘what a rip off!’”

Meanwhile, contracts, value added and profits all incur significant taxes, while social security contributions add at least a 20% overhead cost to salaries (despite providing staff with such poor services that many are forced to purchase private insurance anyway).

In short, costs are often similar to those in developed economies with high-functioning infrastructure, services and regulatory frameworks.

The end result is a layered landscape that leaves little space for conventional business.

At the bottom, a bulging informal economy accommodates most would-be entrepreneurs, who fail to create SMEs precisely because the entry costs are too high.

At the top sit the large corporations, who are sufficiently well-connected and profitable to consider such expenditure trifling.

Worse, top corporations have a vested interest in keeping the economy as exclusionary as it currently is, to repress the healthy competition that could change the rules of the game.

In between these extremes, small and medium-sized companies struggle. Typically, they end up being dependent on bigger fish, who patronize them by helping them survive but not thrive.

Hence many SMEs remain in a grey area where it is impossible to sign contracts with public administrations for tenders or trade with foreign partners.

Tripoli is a case in point, as home to several billionaires, a sprawling informal sector, and just a handful of SMEs—despite cheap labor, affordable industrial space and adequate infrastructure.

The great fortunes built on an otherwise thoroughly stagnant economy evoke the notion of “rentierism,” denoting economic systems where elites extract wealth from existing resources rather than generating it through productive activity.

In Lebanon, numerous rents are derived from controlling niche markets in which oligopolies ramp up the prices—as customers enjoy no alternatives. A wine merchant acknowledged: “Lebanese wines are more expensive in Lebanon than abroad, amazingly. Here they can afford to be over-priced because imported wines are themselves kept artificially expensive.” In other words, the rent is “extracted” from the purchasing power of ordinary citizens, who find it increasingly hard to make ends meet.

Just as an oil state redistributes its riches through subsidies and co-optation into the state bureaucracy, Lebanon generates a plethora of unproductive jobs that implicitly serve a similar function.

Banks are replete with people and functions that would not be necessary were absurdly archaic services to be automated.

While companies hire poorly qualified staff to pick up banker’s checks and pay the bills, administrations do as much to process them.

Across the board, inefficiencies go hand in hand with low-paying jobs meant to supplement them. In a sense, this system offers an essential social safety net by creating accessible employment.

But the argument of solidarity only goes so far: The fact that Lebanon’s unproductive economy is geared toward oligopolistic accumulation is the reason why people struggle to find suitable jobs in the first place.

The government and its international partners are right in pinpointing the crucial role SMEs must play in generating and circulating more wealth.

But that will only happen once local authorities and their external backers take steps to restrain the ferocious appetites of Lebanon’s oligarchs, by reaching an agreement on basic reforms in exchange for sustained investments.

So far, all that talk about entrepreneurship has done little more than cover up lack of action.

This piece is excerpted from a series of short essays, the Lebanese Economy Watchdog, which unpacks economic issues most critical to Lebanese citizens, from their vantage point and in accessible terms. To sign up for updates, go here.

To end corruption, start with the US and UK.

They allow the most flagrant corruption ways in broad daylight

The fight against corruption entails no small amount of absurdity, since so much of the corruption these days occurs in broad daylight. The corruption is so blatant, so indefensible, that attempts at justification are necessarily surreal.

Recently, 300 economists, including me, made the point thanks to Oxfam’s mobilization. Prime Minister David Cameron’s job at Thursday’s Anti-Corruption Summit is not to whisper about the corruption of Nigeria or Afghanistan but to end the deep and historic role of the United Kingdom in this sordid mess. Ditto for the US and other major parties to the abuse.

One of the pervasive elements of corruption is the use of shell companies, which are legal entities (called moral entity?) designed purely to protect real owners from disclosure, liability and accountability.

When the Panama Papers were leaked, the law firm at the center of the disclosure, Mossack Fonseca, had this astounding justification:

Finally, the instances you cite in your reporting represent a fraction – less than 1% – of the approximately 300,000 companies that Mossack Fonseca has incorporated in its over 40 years in operation.

This fact shows that the vast majority of our clients use companies we incorporate for legitimate uses and that our due diligence and compliance procedures are overwhelmingly successful in thwarting those who have other intentions.

The very idea that the law firm has done “due diligence” on 300,000 companies, even over 40 years, is beyond ludicrous.

Even over 40 years and 250 working days per year, incorporating 300,000 companies would entail an average of 30 companies per day. Of course there is no due diligence (as the corrupt cases plainly demonstrate). There is blatant abuse of incorporation.

The UK is at the center of this network of impunity, a legacy of the British Empire and a measure of the continuing role of the City of London in transferring tax-free funds around the world.

The British Virgin Islands, a UK oversees territory, has a population of 28,000 people and more than 1m registered companies, roughly 35 companies per resident population.

It is by far the most popular tax haven of the Panama Papers companies. Recent estimates hold that the British Virgin Islands host about 479,000 active companies.

The tentacles of corruption reach deep into the UK (and US) financial systems. Banks in the City of London and Wall Street have paid tens of billions of dollars of fines for insider trading, financial fraud, price rigging and other financial crimes in recent years.

Yet almost no leading bankers have taken a hit for their organization’s malfeasance. It’s hard to escape the conclusion that the major financial firms are part of a global network of organized financial crime.

the tax havens and the bankers certainly have their defenders. That’s the real point. The impunity is so strong that even the most flagrant abuses such as 479,000 shell companies in the British Virgin Islands, lead to little if any action.

Consider the recent statements by Conservative MP Dominic Grieve, who claims that the British Virgin Islands are “entitled” to run their financial haven as they see fit.

Of course this is all the more shocking because Grieve is former attorney general of England and Wales and a member of the Privy Council.

The UK and the US are at center of the system of global abuse. Britain created the modern world of global finance in the 19th and early 20th centuries, and Wall Street became co-leader with the City of London after the second world war.

In both countries, hundreds of thousands of lawyers, bankers, hedge fund operators, politicians, accountants and regulators have consciously built a system of global tax havens of the rich, by the rich, and for the rich that now hosts more than $20tn (yes, trillion) of funds hiding from taxes, law authorities, environmental regulation and accountability (Mind you that the global value of products in a year is barely 5 trillion)

Good that the UK is hosting the Anti-Corruption Summit. But let’s be clear. As serious and tragic as is the corruption in Nigeria, Afghanistan and elsewhere, it has long been facilitated by the UK itself (including through Royal Dutch Shell, not just tax havens). We should distinguish the big and small operators. As the famous old English ditty puts its:

The law demands that we atone

When we take things we do not own

But leaves the lords and ladies fine

Who take things that are yours and mine.

#YouStink rallying cry: Recycling ‘cornerstone’ solution to Lebanon garbage woes

By: Karim Traboulsi posted on 24 August, 2015

The ongoing garbage crisis has forced Lebanese to take to the streets

Pushing for a recycling-based solution, not calling for revolution, is the only way forward.

There are many different views on how to tackle Lebanon’s one-month-old garbage crisis.

Yet everyone agrees that the usual sweep-it-under-the-rug approach of the Lebanese government can no longer work.Indeed, the current problem is a turning point for an issue that many believe has been 40 years in the making

.Lebanon’s civil war (1975-1990) put a freeze on any progress on waste management in the country.

After the end of the civil war, due to a combination of factors – arguably led by incompetence and corruption – the Lebanese government failed to develop a modern solution to manage the country’s waste, and resorted to burying it in landfills with little to no downstream processing.

The Lebanese government and the private contractor Sukleen, which was paid hundreds of millions of dollars to collect rubbish from Beirut and Mount Lebanon, acted little more than a “garbage taxi,” in the words of Ziad Abi Chaker, one of Lebanon’s leading environmental entrepreneurs.

Up to 80 percent of waste is buried, if we go with a 2014 report by the Regional Solid Waste Exchange of Information and Expertise network in Mashreq and Maghreb countries, and little of the remaining 20 percent is recycled or composted.

Lebanon waste in brief Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) Generation: – 2.04 million tonnes per year (2013)

Final destination of MSW:- Composted 15 % – Recycled 8 %- Landfilled 48 %- Openly Dumped 29 %Waste composition:- Organic 52.5 % – Paper/cardboard 16% – Plastics 11.5 % – Metal 5.5 % – Glass 3.5 % – Others 11 %

Cost of waste management:- Collection and transportation: $10-$31/tonne- Total cost including disposal: $20-$143/tonne (Source: SWEEPNet (2014)

It was only a matter of time for Lebanon, a tiny mountainous country, to run out of space for its waste. This is exactly what precipitated the current, mother of all garbage crises, when the government shut down the overfilled landfill in Naahmeh, the main dumping ground for the capital’s rubbish, under pressure from frustrated locals.

They had had enough with the smell and worrying reports of higher cancer rates near landfill sites. The Lebanese government was stumped.

Already in paralysis, and structurally incapable of thinking outside the box of traditional solutions, it could do little to resolve the problem as no other Lebanese region accepted to absorb the waste of the capital.

The Lebanese government scrambled to find an easy, quick-and-dirty solution. It even considered selling waste to Sweden, which incinerates garbage to produce hot water, but that quickly failed as Sweden requires rubbish to be sorted first.

The next-best solution was to try and bribe neglected Lebanese regions in the periphery to become the capital’s dumping grounds (for example the neglected province of Akkar up north), in return for development projects.

Experts have spoken to local television stations about the prospect of acid rain over Lebanon. When emissions from uncollected garbage merge with oxygen and moisture, they warned, they could turn into acid that will combine with water droplets during the fast-approaching wet season.

The Lebanese government’s mishandling of the issue eventually prompted protests by civil campaigners and activists, who have launched the #YouStink campaign.

The first few protests were small in scale but the continuation of the crisis and violent police reaction has rallied more and more Lebanese around the cause and against government incompetence in general.

YouStink anti-government protests drew thousands over the weekend  forcing the government to deploy hundreds of police. The police clashed with the peaceful protesters, using water cannons and even tear gas. Hundreds were reportedly wounded, triggering a new political crisis and calls for the government to step down.

But protesters have been criticised for raising maximalist demands and expecting too much from a government that has no popular mandate and whose main function has been to prevent Lebanon from exploding under pressure from the Syrian conflict.

A few during the protests called for “revolution” against the system, but many believe the protests should have a more specific, achievable goal.

Predictably, some in the Lebanese left have accused YouStink of not being radical enough.

Ziad Abi Chaker believes that not only there is a feasible solution to the garbage problem, but also that it would be simple to implement a sustainable, profitable and eco-friendly plan.

Recycling and composting, or as environmentalists put it the 3Rs – Recycle, Reuse, Reduce – would be at the heart of such a plan.

The solution starts at the level of individual citizens. If the Lebanese government is unrepresentative and works for the service of a corrupt political class as it is alleged, then it is only logical that ordinary people should take the initiative and not wait for their unelected rulers to act.

The simplest two things people can do is to sort their rubbish and reduce their consumption to produce less organic and solid waste.

Ziad Abi Chaker and a number of NGOs have been trying to raise awareness about this for some years now, and the latest crisis has helped their cause dramatically.

Back in January, Abi Chaker and activist Sobhiya Najjar launched a viral video campaign to persuade Lebanese households to sort organic and solid waste using separate black and blue bags. Existing recycling plants in Lebanon could already absorb a lot of solid waste, including glass and plastics Existing scavenger networks would then pick the blue bags and sort their contents further, and sell recyclable items to private-sector recycling businesses.

Abi Chaker told al-Araby al-Jadeed that existing recycling plants in Lebanon could already absorb a lot of solid waste, including glass and plastics. He says there are other types of waste that Lebanon’s existing infrastructure cannot handle, such as green glass, but points out that the main challenge is organic waste

But even this would not be too difficult for Lebanon to deal with.

Abi Chaker stresses it would not take more than a few years for plants to be built, during which part of the waste could be safely stored for later processing.

Naturally, a comprehensive national waste management plan would improve sorting at home and not rely on scavengers, but rudimentary sorting is a good start to reduce the volume of waste, Abi Chaker argues.

Lebanese citizens could also do a lot more by way of reducing their consumption. Abi Chaker and NGOs advocating the 3Rs have been asking Lebanese people and restaurants, notorious for wasting food, to reduce organic waste by both consuming less and trying to compost when possible.

People can also reduce their solid waste by reusing and repurposing instead of disposing of items like glass or using reusable items instead of disposable ones. Part of the problem has been giving too much power to one company such as Sukleen Bypassing ‘centralised corruption’ Part of the problem has been giving too much power to one company such as Sukleen to handle the waste of metropolitan Beirut and Mount Lebanon, where the bulk of Lebanon’s population is concentrated.

Ziad Abi Chaker and others have instead proposed decentralising rubbish collection and downstream processing by working with local municipalities.Municipalities, together with citizens and environmental NGOs, can handle the sorting and collection of waste and then sell it to private recycling businesses for some revenue that goes back into improving infrastructure.

Municipalities are more answerable to local constituencies, and comprehensive decentralisation has been a constant demand after the civil war as one way to achieve fairer and more balanced development and reduce corruption at the level of the central government.

Enter the state gargantuan task of waste management in Lebanon in a way that meets modern international standards cannot be handled by civil society and the private sector alone, though these must take the lead and waste management must have a solid grassroots bedrock. Waste management must have a solid grassroots bedrock Lebanon’s Ministry of Environment and the Council for Development and Reconstrution, a quasi-state body, have already developed studies and supposedly drafted national waste management plants.

But these join similar plans for public transport, energy and water resource management plans on the forgotten shelves of Lebanese bureaucracy.The Lebanese state’s role, according go Ziad Abi Chaker, is primarily to develop tax incentives, draft legal frameworks and act as a facilitator for waste management stakeholders. It is also hoped that the Lebanese state would help finance and build large recycling plants, especially to handle organic waste.

The problem here is that it is hard to expect politicians to greenlight a radical recycling-based approach to waste management.

Many of those in power and their direct associates allegedly have links to waste management businesses and see no direct benefit for their pockets to go the sustainable way.In fact, politicians now seem to be taking advantage of the snowballing YouStink movement not to heed their citizens’ demands, but to settle scores among themselves and promote half-baked solutions favouring their cronies.Eyes on the prize #YouStink must learn from the mistakes of previous protest movements in the country

The YouStink campaign offers some hope by way of putting public pressure on the government to change its usual approach. But the campaign must learn from the mistakes of previous protest movements in the country, most recently the struggle of the Unions Coordination Committee (UCC) to end a 10-year-old freeze on pay rises amid a cost of living crisis, if it wants to avoid failure and losing public support.

The UCC protest movement expanded its goals so broadly that it eventually lost focus on its main objective.Worryingly, some in YouStink are going on tangents about changing the entire system and replacing the entire political class. While few in Lebanon disagree with these demands, the struggle to resolve the garbage crisis in a sustainable way must remain focused on the issue at hand.

The protesters must sustain pressure on politicians collectively and refuse any solution they propose other than the recipe environmentalists have put forward: No dumping, no landfills and no incinerators. The objective must be kept specific, technical and apolitical, at least until a nationwide recycling-based waste management system is up and running, where the citizens – not the state – take the lead.

Otherwise, the outcome will be more chaos and no solution to the country’s garbage woes.As the saying in Lebanon goes, we want to eat grapes, not kill the vineyard guard.Opinions expressed in this article remain those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of al-Araby al-Jadeed, its editorial board or staff. – See more at: http://www.alaraby.co.uk/english/comment/2015/8/24/youstink-recycling-cornerstone-of-solution-to-lebanon-garbage-woes#sthash.cizxlOhx.dpuf

Every thing illegal is for sale: Driver licence, tampering with electrical counter, selling fraudulent graduation certificates…#‎dekkentelbalad‬,

Sakker El Dekkene” is a brilliantly executed campaign to fight this gargantuan tumor that is corruption in virtually every single governmental institution in Lebanon.

“Dekkene” is a Lebanese word for “local convenience store/deli”. It’s the rickety place that sells you everything, and where everything is disorganized and haphazard.

If you’ve ever done any official paperwork, you’ll know that the video didn’t exaggerate at all, it just made it more believable in my humble opinion, because the reality can be much, much worse.

Lebanon is a “dekkene” in many ways, and the rampant corruption that festers in its every nook and cranny has become the only way to get anything done.

Bribes, “wasta” and third-party “facilitators” are a must if you want anything done fast, or done at all in fact (even when it’s obviously illegal).

10338851_10152025866461384_7857636635468812835_n

Even during the event, ISF officers would come and badger the organizers for paperwork, even though everything was in line, which begs the question what was their real intention of coming not once, nor twice, nor thrice but more to harass everyone there? Dekkene…

The website’s platform is amazing, and they have apps for Android and iOS where you can anonymously report corruption you see.

The data gathered will be analyzed and made publicly available to help us exert pressure in the reforms direction. Also, a branded Smart car will be parked at the door of the most corrupt institution of the month, letting everyone know which ones to be careful of, and pressure to reform.

The shop is also brilliant, and it’s on Gemmayzeh street right next to the Lebanese Red Cross center. It’s full of very sarcastic items, signs and stencils, and you’ll have a laugh or two as you browse around.

Rita Chemaly posted:

here we are, in a big Boutique, you can buy all what you want, there are more from the ‪#‎dekkentelbalad‬, for you here is the movie!!!https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mb9D8ZaLE3ghttp://youtu.be/mb9D8ZaLE3g and its description below Rita Chemaly … [ 175 more words. ]

 

‎الدكنجي بدكانة البلد جاهز لكل طلباتكن!<br /><br />
دفتر سواقة، رخصة فوميه، رخص عمار...<br /><br />
دكانة_البلد ناطرتكن بالجميزة اليوم وبكرا‎

الدكنجي بدكانة البلد جاهز لكل طلباتكن!
دفتر سواقة، رخصة فوميه، رخص عمار…
دكانة_البلد ناطرتكن بالجميزة اليوم وبكرا

Note 1: Monster marches from all syndicates and associations (public teachers, public employees in all administrations and institutions…) are demanding the ratification of long delayed increase in grades and pay. Yearly increase in pay is the law, but for the last 18 years the law has not been applied.
When the deputies of the Parliament were called thieves the Chairman Nabih Berry demanded an apology. Instantly, the social media responded by confirming that every deputy is a “thief and a half
And that a dozen of eternal deputies are the main chairman of the “money whales” refusing to pay taxes and selling this country public institutions.
We all live in a prosperous ‘Dekkene’ which has a broad customer base, diversified merchandise, and branches all over the country.
The gross ‘Dekkene’ revenue has exceeded 1.5 billion dollars per year, the equivalent of 10% of our GDP. This means that one-tenth of every person’s income is sucked away by corruption.
Sakker el Dekkene proposes an antidote to this virus: to hold public administrations accountable for lack of integrity and put pressure on politicians to initiate change and fight corruption.
The initiative adopts a multi-tool and multidisciplinary approach that starts with the collection of corruption-related data through its websitewww.sakkera.com , smart phone App (iOS and Android), complaint boxes, and hotline +961 76 80 80 80 where people can report and help quantify instances of corruption in public administrations.
The portal then collates incidents posted by citizens and highlights corruption trends. By doing so, the NGO wishes to raise public awareness, engage citizens in the process of change, trigger public debate, exert pressure on politicians, and lobby for genuine reform.

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