BEIRUT: The March 14 coalition-backed candidates emerged winners in the elections for the Association of Lebanese Industrialists held over the weekend.
The March 14 list, headed by Fadi Gemayel, won after running against a March 8 coalition-backed list headed by Ramez Abu Nader.
Gemayel alone received 328 votes out of 354 association members who cast their ballots in the election, which was held at the Monroe Hotel.
As ALI President, Gemayel will endeavor to energize the association, working closely with other members of the board, which includes First Vice President Ziad Bekdach, Second Vice President George Nesrawi, Treasurer Nazarit Sabounjian, Secretary-General Khalil Cherri, Secretary of Foreign Relations Mounir al-Bsat, and four members of the board of directors including Michel Daher, Walid Assaf, Chawki Dakkash and Adnan Ataya.
After his victory, Gemayel said: “I call upon all industrialists including members of the competing list to join efforts and work for the interest of the national industry by opening new markets and creating a healthy environment for this sector.”
Gemayel, who is now the head of the association, is also the president of Lebanon’s Syndicate of Owners of Paper and Packaging Industries.
He vowed to provide all industrialists with the needed support in addition to working hard on reviving the industry sector by enhancing its contribution to the local economy.
Meanwhile, Former President of the Association of Lebanese Industrialists Nemat Ifram gave a speech focusing on the services provided by ALI over the past four years. “We worked on reactivating the Web page of the association by improving its design and content which enabled us to reach 250 visitors per day,” he said.
Ifram noted that ALI issued a quarterly industrial publication in addition to relaunching the industrial guide in its new form which contains a list of exporting Lebanese industrialists and the products that they export along with other important information.
Measures taken by ALI in the past years included a series of industrial workshops and training with the Lebanese American University, the establishment of an office for supporting green industries in the association in cooperation with ESCWA and the issuance of economic indicators with the support of the central administration of statistics.
Ifram said that despite the various economic challenges faced by the country in the past years, ALI succeeded in working with the public sector on reducing tax on profits from industrial exports by 50 percent in addition to cutting income tax for industrialists by 35 percent for five years. “We also managed to avoid the cancelation of article 59 of the value-added tax law, which enables industrialists to continue to benefit from reclaiming the taxes paid on imported raw material,” he said.
He also mentioned a list of actions taken by the association including exempting Lebanese exports to the United States from U.S. customs.