NNA - Prime Minister Saad Hariri sponsored today at the Grand Serail the signing ceremony of consultancy contracts between the High Council for Privatization and three international consultants: the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and KPMG and SOLON companies to assist Lebanon in tendering three development projects included in the Capital investment program that Lebanon presented to the international community in the CEDRE Conference.
The ceremony was attended by the Minister of Public Works Youssef Fenianos, the US Ambassador to Lebanon Elizabeth Richard, the head of the EU delegation to Lebanon Ambassador Christina Lassen, the Secretary General of the Council of Ministers Fouad Fleifel, the Secretary General of the High Council for Privatization Ziad Hayek, Ogero General Director Imad Kreidieh, the President of the Council for Development and Reconstruction Nabil Jisr, MEA Chairman Mohammed Hout and a number of advisors.
Hayek presented the three projects: the expansion of Rafic Hariri International airport and building a new passenger terminal, building a Khaldeh-Nahr Ibrahim road, and launching the National information center.
The signing ceremony took place in the presence of Premier Hariri and Minister Finianos. The agreement about the expansion of Rafic Hariri International Airport agreement was signed by Hayek and IFC Regional Head of PPP, Privatization and Infrastructure Financial Advisory Muneer Ferozie. The Khaldeh-Nahr Ibrahim road agreement was signed by Hayek and EBRD senior advisor for Lebanon Gretchen Biery. The third agreement regarding the National information center project was signed by Hayek and KPMG CEO in Lebanon Nafez Merehbi.
Prime Minister Hariri
Hariri said: “We are witnessing today the signing of contracts between the High Council for Privatization and several consultants to start the work that is at the core of the CEDRE conference projects.
We are optimistic on this, especially for the success of our economic and social vision and for the creation of job opportunities. For me, creating employment opportunities is the main reason for going to the CEDRE conference because it stimulates the economy. Today there are three big projects exceeding $4 billion that will be executed in cooperation with the private sector, which is the basis of the economy.”
He added: “I want to thank the Minister of Public Works Youssef Fenianos who worked very hard, particularly in the project of the expansion of the Rafic Hariri airport and all the other projects. I want also to thank Minister Jamal Jarrah and Ogero General Director Imad Kreidieh. Finally today the first projects will start and hopefully will be followed by other projects in electricity, water and several sectors.”
Hariri continued: “The expansion of the airport, which the Lebanese state delayed, is necessary. It may be surprising to some that we are seeking to expand the airport to receive 20 million passengers. If we could, we would have expanded it further because when we completed the airport to receive six million passengers, the people were surprised by what Rafic Hariri was doing. They wondered why he spent all these sums. Today the private sector will provide the financing and the state will not incur any costs, and we are cooperating with the World Bank, the EBRD and the IFC and this encourages us. This is the confidence we seek to get from these institutions and what is needed today is to work together. It is true that these are the last days of the government but I am optimistic that the future will be better.”
For his part, Ferozie expressed his pleasure to work as a senior advisor to the Lebanese government to prepare the structure of cooperation between the public and private sectors for the Rafic Hariri International Airport. He said that this major project entails improving the current airport infrastructure, expanding it gradually and attracting the private sector to design, build, finance and maintain the airport, through a long-term concession, which enhances passenger traffic and increase the commercial potential of the airport.”
Biery expressed the support of the EBRD for the efforts of the government to meet the needs of the vital infrastructure through the cooperation between the private and public sectors and help in reducing the daily traffic crisis.
Merehbi thanked the government for the opportunity to participate in the National information center project, which is considered strategic for Lebanon and the region.