BEIRUT: The Industry Ministry said Sunday that it issued 415 permits for industrial projects in Lebanon in 2013, compared with 349 in 2012, an increase of 15.9 percent. On a monthly basis, the number of permits issued ranged from a high of 56 in June to a low of 13 in February.
While the number of permits issued rose in 2013, the report cautioned that not all investors who received permits had started construction on industrial plants.
It added that 31.1 percent of permits covered both construction and investment – meaning that the investors could be expected to proceed to plant construction quickly.
The report did not disclose the total value of the permits issued or provide a breakdown of the nationalities of the investors.
However, sources said that many Syrian industrialists who had fled the civil war in their country were among those who had expressed interest in setting up industrial facilities in Lebanon.
By region, Mount Lebanon saw the most permits, at 57.8 percent of the total, compared with 15.7 percent in the Bekaa Valley and 9.4 percent in the south.
Agro-food industries ranked first in terms of the number of permits issued, followed by construction, mineral and electrical appliances, chemical industries, rubber and plastic, wood and furniture, printing and garments.
Industry Minister Hussein Hajj Hasan said recently that one of his objectives was to raise the industrial sector’s contribution to the GDP from 9 to 17 percent.
The minister also promised to offer additional incentives to industrialists who set up factories in the country’s rural areas.
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on March 10, 2014, on page 5.