The blatant disregard with which the government is treating the current economic crisis in the country is the height of irresponsibility. It is best characterized by the industry minister’s advice to the Lebanese to just need to relax because “we don’t need to make money every year.”
Indeed, for those among the political class who have been robbing the country blind for the past few decades, taking a year off to lay comfortably on their stolen wealth may be an option, but for those Lebanese who have worked hard to build their businesses and fight every day to make ends meet, this is not a luxury they can afford.
The Syrian situation is impacting Lebanon in a wash of negative ways: investments are evaporating, bank deposits are shrinking, the tourist season was a disaster, export market routes are cut and inflation is up. Gross domestic product growth is in decline while unemployment is growing.
In response the government has done nothing to help. Leaders from almost every sector of the economy are screaming for progressive policy reforms to help them survive. They don’t want handouts, they simply want the litany of government-imposed impediments to their business to be removed. If the government cannot provide the proper infrastructure the country needs — such as a functioning power grid — then it should not get in the way of the private sector doing so.
But instead our politicians have been mute, articulating no strategy forward for the country in the slightest. They have buried their heads in the sand, and it is time we kicked them in the ass.