Central Bank governor Riad Salameh attends a conference in Beirut, Monday, June 9, 2014. (The Daily Star/Mohammad Azakir)
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Economic indicators remarkably improved during the first quarter of 2014 following the formation of the national unity government, with local consumption of durable goods expected to increase by 7 percent in 2014, Environment Minister Mohammad Machnouk said.Despite the improvement in economic indicators during the first months of 2014, the economic situation still faces major challenges due to the presence of over 1.3 million Syrian refugees officially registered in Lebanon, Machnouk said.Salameh's remarks were echoed by Francois Bassil, president of the Association of Banks in Lebanon, who said that the financial policy adopted by the Central Bank allowed banks to grant funding with favorable conditions for the government.Nabil Itani, chairman of the Investment Development Authority of Lebanon, urged the government to set its priorities and develop new policies in order to achieve growth and stability on the economic and social front.Mohamed Choucair, president of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, called upon the government to begin with the necessary reform measures that would benefit all Lebanese, but especially those with limited income.Fadi Gemayel, president of the Lebanese Industrialists' Association, called for the creation of an economic association that would deal with emergency matters and whose objective would be to create an economic strategy aimed at increasing the country's competitive advantage and securing sustainable development.
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