Beirut, 21 March 2007 - The Foreign
Investment Advisory Service, a joint initiative of the World Bank and IFC,
the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, has launched a report on
how to streamline administrative procedures for private investment in Lebanon.
The report highlights the procedures investors must follow to set up a
business, including licensing, operating, and locating procedures.
The report analyzes each procedure and
makes recommendations for streamlining or improving it, based on international
best practice. On licensing, the report indicates that the procedures are
overregulated and too time-consuming for the public and private sectors;
it recommends identifying less challenging ways to monitor businesses.
The report also finds that despite some
progress, administering taxes remains complex and that closing a business
is too time-consuming and costly. The report notes that reforming the reporting
and inspection systems and getting rid of any duplication would reduce
administrative procedures dramatically and that Lebanon would benefit from
a more sustainable and systematic approach to land and site development
procedures that reduce transaction cost and promote investment.
The report is part of a broader assistance
program launched by the World Bank and IFC to improve the business environment
in Lebanon. It complements Investment Climate Assessment, a World
Bank project managed by IFC’s advisory services facility, IFC PEP-MENA,
to streamline business registration procedures.
“Following up on these recommendations by FIAS and broadening the reform
agenda would be a valuable effort that will strengthen Lebanon’s private
sector,” said Jesper Kjaer, general manager of IFC PEP-MENA.
IFC, the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, promotes open and
competitive markets in developing countries. IFC supports sustainable
private sector companies and other partners in generating productive jobs
and delivering basic services, so that people have opportunities to escape
poverty and improve their lives. Through FY06, IFC Financial Products has
committed more than $56 billion in funding for private sector investments
and mobilized an additional $25 billion in syndications for 3,531 companies
in 140 developing countries. IFC Advisory Services and donor partners have
provided more than $1 billion in program support to build small enterprises,
to accelerate private participation in infrastructure, to improve the business
enabling environment, to increase access to finance, and to strengthen
environmental and social sustainability. For more information, please visit
About IFC PEP-MENA
IFC PEP-MENA is a multidonor facility for technical assistance that supports
private sector development across the Middle East and North Africa region.
IFC PEP-MENA focuses on improving the business enabling environment, strengthening
financial markets, supporting small business development, and promoting
privatization and public-private partnerships. From its inception through
FY06, IFC PEP-MENA has committed more than $20 million in technical assistance
and advisory services projects. Its activities are funded jointly by IFC
and the following donors: Canada, France, the Islamic Development Bank,
Japan, Kuwait, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and the United States.