The council of ministers gave his approval last week for two draft laws aiming to modernize the economy structure:
A reformed customs law that would facilitate the import and export of goods: reduction in paperwork, tighten up on smuggling, speed up port clearance and standardization of payment methods. These new reforms that will be put in place beginning 2001, will help Lebanon meet the World Trade Organization requirements. On the other hand, the government induced an abrasive cut in customs taxes.
A draft law for commercial bank shares that aims to unify the various categories into one, replacing the A category (Lebanese), B category (Lebanese and Foreigners) and C category (Lebanese and Foreigners with the possibility of listing in the stock market).
This will enable the banks to list 100 percent of their shares in the stock market against 30 percent at present. Acquiring more than 5 percent of a bank’s capital is subject to BDL’s consent. Foreigners will be able to acquire 100 percent of a bank’s capital against the 2/3 allowed at present. A stock option system will soon be introduced. — ( Banque Libano-Française Sal )