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Cost of living Policy Brief .Lebanon

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Lebanon is one of the most expensive countries in the Middle East relative to its per capita income as citizens suffer from a rising cost of living and low salaries. High prices are primarily driven …

Lebanon is one of the most expensive countries in the Middle East relative to its per capita income as citizens suffer from a rising cost of living and low salaries. High prices are primarily driven by two factors. The first is unfair market competition due to government monopolies, oligopolies, and exclusive agencies. The second factor is the ineffective infrastructure, including electricity, transportation, and telecommunications, which has a direct impact on the prices paid by citizens, and affects prices indirectly by increasing the cost of production, transportation, and storage of products.

This policy brief examines existing research and policies to assess the true nature of the problem, under the limitations imposed by the lack of reliable research and data on cost-of-living, which affects effective, evidence-based policy-making. This is followed by an assessment of possible policy options to address the high cost of living, along with recommendations for practical actions that can be pushed forth by civil society organizations (CSOs). The recommended policy calls for development of a unified vision for revamping infrastructure across all sectors, with decentralized implementation in the hands of the relevant ministries. A robust implementation strategy must be adopted detailing the structures, people, processes, and systems required to turn this vision into reality.

Implementation of these recommendations require CSOs in Lebanon to recognize the importance of this issue and their own ability to effect change, while challenging citizen apathy towards a problem that many deem too complex for them to influence. Citizens must be reminded that improved infrastructure such as electricity and water is not only essential for reducing the cost of living and fostering growth, but is also a basic human right for all Lebanese across geographic locations, confessions, and walks of life. With effective citizen mobilization, civil society will be equipped to generate sufficient political will at the level of government to make infrastructure reform a national priority.




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  • 1. POLICY BRIEF Towards an improved infrastructure
  • 2. 1 This policy brief was developed by the Youth Economic Forum, in close collaboration with experts, activists and civil society organizations. Lebanon, 2012 Lebanon is one of the most expensive countries in the Middle East relative to its per capita income as citizens suffer from a rising cost of living and low salaries. High prices are primarily driven by two factors. The first is unfair market competition due to government monopolies, oligopolies, and exclusive agencies. The second factor is the ineffective infrastructure, including electricity, transportation, and telecommunications, which has a direct impact on the prices paid by citizens, and affects prices indirectly by increasing the cost of production, transportation, and storage of products. This policy brief examines existing research and policies to assess the true nature of the problem, under the limitations imposed by the lack of reliable research and data on cost-of-living, which affects effective, evidence-based policy-making. This is followed by an assessment of possible policy options to address the high cost of living, along with recommendations for practical actions that can be pushed forth by civil society organizations (CSOs). The recommended policy calls for the development of a unified vision for revamping infrastructure across all sectors, with decentralized implementation in the hands of the relevant ministries. A robust implementation strategy must be adopted detailing the structures, people, processes, and systems required to turn this vision into reality. Implementation of these recommendations require CSOs in Lebanon to recognize the importance of this issue and their own ability to effect change, while challenging citizen apathy towards a problem that many deem too complex for them to influence. Citizens must be reminded that improved infrastructure such as electricity and water is not only essential for reducing the cost of living and fostering growth, but is also a basic human right for all Lebanese across geographic locations, confessions, and walks of life. With effective citizen mobilization, civil society will be equipped to generate sufficient political will at the level of government to make infrastructure reform a national priority. EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
  • 3. 2 3 The Problem There is increasing citizen and media concern regarding the cost of living in Lebanon, a concern justified by the trends observed in the economic indicators. The Central Administration for Statistics (CAS) indicates an increase of 20.6% in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) between January 2010 and October 2012 to reach a record high of 130.1% increase in prices since the base year in 2007. This exacerbating trend is also evident in the inflation rates as CAS calculated the average rate from 2008 until 2012 to be 3.94% reaching an all time high of 11.1% in October of 2012. The main problem reveals itself when we see income levels far from matching the record increases in the CPI and inflation rates. According to the World Bank, the Gross Nation Income (GNI) per capita, adjusted to the Purchasing Power Parity (PPP), has increase by only 1.3% between 2010 and 2011. All estimates are pointing to a similar minimal growth in 2012 affected by the political and security instability the country is facing. The government should recognize this issue as a pressing concern and place it as the top priority on its agenda. Situation Brief Research, focus group discussions, and expert meetings conducted by the Youth Economic Forum stressed the need for reform in multiple sectors to address the high cost of living, highlighting the fundamental failures of the legal and physical infrastructure in Lebanon: Inadequate infrastructure. The poor quality of public infrastructure related to electricity, water, transportation, telecommunications, and public education impacts household expenditure levels and the cost of doing business, thus hampering economic growth and investment. Electricity. Electricité du Liban (EDL) has failed to meet minimal operational standards, supplying electricity well below demand. EDL’s net thermal capacity has varied from 1600 MW to 2000 MW. This falls short of peak demand for electricity, which was at least 2600 MW in 2006 and is expected to grow 4-6% annually between 2008 and 2015 (El-Fadel et al, 2009). As a result, blackouts have become routine and reach 13 hours a day in some areas. Blackouts increase dependence on off-grid generators, which cost twice as much as public electricity, leading consumers to pay large utility bills (Dagher & Ruble, 2011). Standby generators Framing the Issue account for 33-38% of electricity consumption (Hamdan et at, 2012), causing a high import bill given that 93% of fuel and diesel oil is imported (Dagher & Ruble, 2011). Water. Like electricity, water is unevenly distributed across Lebanon due to inadequate infrastructure and management. Lebanon currently has a water supply deficit of 24% of total demand, which may reach 51% by 2035 if no action is taken (Basil, 2010). Transportation. More than 20 years since the end of the civil war, the public transport system is still woefully inadequate and is in fact in a state of continuous decline in quality and reach. It is no surprise then that the most commonly used means of transportation is privately owned automobiles, which comprise 83% of all trips (Directorate General of Land and Maritime Transport, 2007). The rising cost of fuel translates into high energy bills for Lebanese citizens, who have few alternatives to private car usage. Telecommunications. Communications make up approximately 5% of household expenditure (CAS, 2004). Lebanese consumers pay more than double the price for prepaid mobile services in regional countries: the regional average price per minute is $0.14, while it is $0.36 in Lebanon. Lack of competition in the mobile market results in poor quality of service combined with limited offers and high prices (Shehadi, 2010). Education. According to the Center for Educational Research and Development (CERD), about 1.22 millionstudents(32%oftheLebanese population) were registered in an educational institution in 2009, with 47% attending public schools and 37% in private schools (Yaacoub & Badre, 2012). Although private institutions are more expensive than public ones, a significant portion of Lebanese households opt to pay higher tuition rates due to the low quality of public education.
  • 4. 4 5 Framing the Issue Limited reliable research on cost of living. A study by Rima Turk-Ariss demonstrates the lack of reliable cost-of-living data in Lebanon. Two institutions calculate household expenditures: the Central Administration of Statistics (CAS), which covers all of Lebanon, and the Consultation and Research Institute (CRI), which covers only Greater Beirut. According to CAS, Lebanese households spend the most on food, housing, transport, and telecommunications, whereas CRI data indicates that food, transport, communications, and education comprise the highest household expenditures. The most striking difference is in the housing expenditure, which CAS puts at 25.7% and CRI at a mere 6.49%. This translates into unreliable data on prices and consumption patterns to guide evidence-based policy-making, including taxation and counter- inflationary measures. Moreover, the absence of a Cost of Living Index (COLI) makes the mechanism by which wage is adjusted to inflation unjustifiable. Lack of market competition. It is estimated that at least half the markets in Lebanon have monopolistic or oligopolistic structures. This means that enterprises are working together to maintain high prices by reducing competition. Gains from monopolistic behavior make up more than 16% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in Lebanon (Dessus & Ghaleb, 2006). Exclusive agencies. Several agents are legally given exclusive rights to import certain products: Only 13 companies control the trade of fuel and asphalt, 5 the import of iron, 2 the trade of electronics, and 3 the import of pharmaceuticals (CRI, 2003). This is a clear restriction of the liberal market. A draft law was presented to Parliament in 2002 proposing the abolishment of government protection over a five-year period. This law, however, has yet to be passed. Monopolies and duopolies. Currently, there are 5 monopolistic companies in Lebanon, including OGERO Telecom, Sukleen Cleaning SAL, LibanPost, Middle East Airlines (MEA), and EDL. Moreover, two cell phone companies dominate the market to form a duopoly: Alfa and MTC Touch (CRI, 2003). With the current government debt, some of these are considered to be a good source of revenue, which receives more attention than reducing consumer prices. Some of these monopolies not only place a heavy burden on the Lebanese economy through operational losses, but they also make minimal effort to provide better-quality services at lower prices due to lack of competition. The Urgency Lebanon’s infrastructure continues to regress in a world progressing at a fast pace. Lebanon ranked 115th out of 185 countries in the 2013 World Bank Doing Business survey. Over a 12-year period (2000-2012), Lebanon dropped 13 ranks from 68 to 81 out of 146 countries on the Knowledge Economy Index (KEI). If Lebanon is to compete for foreign investmentandcreateanenvironment conducive to growth for its human capital, it must develop a sustainable long-term plan for overhauling its infrastructure and implement it in conjunction with the private sector. Enhancing basic infrastructure across all regions of Lebanon will enable equal opportunity for the entire population, thus improving the distribution of income, reducing household expenditure levels, and consequently increasing citizens’ purchasing power.
  • 5. 6 7 The following policies, laws, and practices reflect the choices made by the Lebanese government to address cost-of-living issues, most of which are related to enhancing market competition and introducing privatization in the electricity and telecommunication sectors. Looking at Existing Policies Decree 34, August 1967 > Lifted protection off existing monopolies, but established new exceptions to the rule dubbed “exclusive agencies.” Decisions No. 277/1 of June 15, 1972 and No. 75 of April 27, 1983 by the Ministry of Economy and Trade (MOET) > The Minister of Economy and Trade has the right to set a ceiling on commodity selling prices or profit rates. Where no ceiling is indicated, the maximum selling price should not exceed twice the amount of cost. However, these decisions were repealed on October 16, 2006 by MOET Decision No. 263/1/A.T. Law 73/83 > Prohibits restrictive agreements, notably cartels. However, this law has two limitations. Firstly, one would have to prove that the agreement in question inevitably leads to an artificial increase in prices, which is difficult to determine. Secondly, the penalty for such agreements (100 million LBP and/or 3 months in jail) is not high enough to deter traders from establishing such cartels. Draft Law on Competition > Presented to Parliament in 2007 but has yet to be ratified. Its purpose, as stated in Article 1, is to ensure true competition and prohibit monopolies as well as restrictive agreements of any sort, including trade cartels. Draft Law on the Abolition of Protection for Exclusive Agencies > Approved by Parliament in December 2005 for gradual implementation over a period of four years. However, former President Emile Lahoud revoked the law. Intellectual property rights law > Protects the rights of innovators from having their new products replicated and sold to others. This has been blatantly violated through copyright infringements becoming a regular and unpunished practice. Policy Law Practice 1. Competition Policies Purpose & Outcome Privatization Law No. 228 of May 2000 > Set among its main objectives enhancement of the competitiveness of the economy and protection of consumer interests. This law has not been implemented effectively. Investment Promotion Law No. 360 of August 2001 > Established the Investment Development Authority of Lebanon (IDAL) and accorded the highest priority to information technology projects. Subsequent laws have focused on the sectors that were being primed for privatization, namely telecommunications and electricity. Law on Telecom- munications No. 431 of July 2002 > Allows for a third operator of cellular phone services. Until today, there are only two cellular phone operators. Law on Regulation of the Electricity Sector No. 462 of September 2002 > Electricity Law 462 of 2002 paved way for private sector participation by allowing up to 40% of the shares in generation plant and distribution networks to be privatized. It establishes administrative and financial independence for the separate phases of production, transmission, and distribution of electrical power. Privatization is projected only for production and distribution activities, with transmission to remain publicly owned. But the National Electricity Regulatory Authority that would have the sole right to license independent power producers is yet to be established EDL Reform Plan > The EDL reform plan is a four-year plan to implement supply-side reform (introducing additional conventional energy sources) and demand-side reform (reducing demand for electricity to curb load growth). These reforms were intended to reduce total losses from $4.4 billion in 2010 to $0 in 2014, with potential for profit after. It was expected that by 2014, a solid power sector would have at least 4000 MW in generation capacity. Two years after planned, EDL has begun implementation of a reform plan by hiring three private companies to provide services that include electronic billing and tracking, introducing easy payment plans, offering discounted rates during certain hours, and instituting a solid inspection and monitoring scheme. National Water Sector Strategy > This reform plan sets out a short term (2011-2015) and long term (2016-2020) that aims to optimize surface water resources, implement artificial water recharge, implement artificial storage, improve water supply transmission and distribution, rehabilitate/replace irrigation systems, treat waste water, and improve the operating model of the water company. Implementation by the Ministry has begun at very modest levels with the support of donor agencies. Policy Law Practice 2. Privatization Policies Purpose & Outcome
  • 6. 8 9 1 2 3 Considering Policy Options The following table describes policy options for tackling cost-of-living issues based on thorough research and participatory consultations with stakeholders around the country. Policy Option Assumptions Objectives Strategies Advantages Disadvantages ImprovingPublicInfrastructure Improve public infrastructure to provide citizens with increased and equal opportunity. > Weak physical infrastructure is increasing disparities due to unequal access to basic resources > Provide adequate resources, including water, electricity, transportation, telecommunications, and education to all Lebanese citizens regardless of location. > Improve the business environment to encourage business and job creation. > Implement privatization laws to establish public- private partnerships and increase efficiencies in the public transport sector. > Implement strategies already laid out by the Ministry of Energy and Water for EDL and water management reform. > Increase investment in the quality of public education. > Allow for new entrants to the telecommunications market. > Make access to basic necessities such as electricity and water available to every resident equally. > Reduce household expenditure on energy by providing public transport and eliminating the need for private generators. > Provide equal opportunity for employment by increasing mobility via public transport and improving the quality of public education. > Reduce household expenditure on telecommunications. > Improve overall services that encourage business creation. > Improper implementation of public-private partnerships and opening the market for new entrants may throw these essential services into the hands of the same political elite EnhancingCost-of- LivingData Pool resources of various research institutions to generate consolidated data on cost-of-living and inflation rates. > Current research is generating policy decisions that are based on incorrect data, which is further increasing inflation and the cost of living. > Improve the quality of data used in analysis, projections, and policy- making. > Develop more indexes that inform policy- making. > Make policy decisions based on credible research. > Pool resources to conduct nationwide surveys with consolidated data. > Discuss statistical methodology and reach an agreement on the most appropriate ones. > Understand the reasons for data discrepancy in past research. > Improved policy-making founded on proper research. > Provide a better understanding of the status quo. > May result in creating one false set of data that is perceived as correct, as opposed to many sets of data that are questioned.. IncreasingMarket Competition Implement market competition and intellectual property rights laws. > Weak implementation of existing policies on market competition and intellectual property rights is hampering the growth of the Lebanese economy by discouraging research and development. > Liberalize markets to ensure fair competition. > Protect intellectual property rights. > Implement existing liberalization and market competition laws. > Continuously monitor monopolistic behavior and enable a platform for citizen complaints. > Eliminate exclusive agencies that monopolize products and sell them at high prices. > Encourage investment in research and development to innovate, with promise of increased profitability in the long run. > Encourage business creation and foreign direct investment. > Intellectual property rights initially generate products at high prices until patents expire and competitive trade of the product is allowed Each policy is based on different assumptions, has a specific objective and strategies, and presents different advantages and disadvantages.
  • 7. 10 11 This policy brief focuses on the first policy option highlighted above—improving infrastructure—as the most urgent and actionable by CSOs, NGOs, and community-based organizations (CBOs). The other two policy options presented above are equally important, but require political will and decisions at the highest levels, which is neither feasible nor realistic in the near to medium term in the current political context, although they should be pursued in the long run to create a more competitive economy. In the meantime, this policy brief encourages civic actors to pool their resources, knowledge, and talents to exert continued pressure on government at all levels to take action towards revamping public infrastructure. Improving Public Infrastructure Recommending Policy The lack or low quality of essential infrastructure in Lebanon is a major obstacle to lowering prices and increasing incomes. Improving infrastructure will not only decrease household expenditures, but also lower the cost of doing business, which in turn will reduce commodity prices, encourage business creation, and attract foreign investment. To that end, a unified vision for revamping public infrastructure across all sectors must be developed, with implementation decentralized in the hands of the relevant ministries. A robust implementation strategy must be adopted detailing the structures, people, processes, and systems required to turn this vision into reality. Key to implementation of this recommendation is proper procurement of services to ensure that citizens’ tax monies are given to the most qualified service providers rather than the monopolistic elite that has contributed to the high cost of living. A key underlying principle of infrastructural reform is the establishment of public-private partnerships and implementation of privatization laws to enable the government to leverage resources by engaging the private sector. The following arguments illustrate how infrastructure improvements in various sectors can make a significant contribution to reducing the cost of living. Electricity sector. Electricity is a basic human right to which every Lebanese citizen is entitled regardless of location. To enhance its operational efficiency and meet demand, EDL must establish public-private partnerships as mandated by Law 462 of 2002. This will enable the company to expand its operations without draining the public budget. Such an expansion would encompass building additional thermal capacity, creating facilities for alternative energy, and ramping up efforts to reform EDL’s management by creating automated collection systems and improving pricing strategies. Water sector. Like electricity, reliable and safe access to water is a basic human right to which every Lebanese is entitled. The public deficit in the water sector has generated dependency on private sector supply, creating an additional burden on the household budget and discouraging business creation. It is therefore crucial for the Ministry of Energy and Water to accelerate the implementation of its water management strategy in order to increase efficiencies through public- private partnerships. Transportation sector. Heavy reliance on private automobiles for transportation translates into large energy bills for individual households given the high cost of fuel, which also increases the cost of doing business and discourages job creation. Moreover, it reduces the mobility of low-income persons, limiting their access to job opportunities in areas far from their residence. To address these problems, existing public transport facilities, including the bus network and jitney system, must be improved in parallel with efforts to create additional ones, including tramway and water ferry systems. Telecommunications sector. The high cost of communications in Lebanon, affecting both mobile and internet services, not only represents a burden on individual consumers but also on the private sector. Being a key cost factor and business driver, telecom needs to become more attractive to encourage business creationforexpansionoftheeconomy and employment opportunities. To that end, reform is needed to allow for new entrants into the sector in order to foster competition, which will in turn improve the quality of service at reduced prices. Education sector. The low quality of public education has increased income disparities among the Lebanese, whereby the poor can only afford to attend public schools, thus finding themselves trapped in a cycle of poverty as public education limits their employment options and earning power. The lack of equal opportunity from the point of school entry is a violation of basic human rights. Given that the Ministry of Education and Higher Education has thesecond-highestgovernmentbudget after the Ministry of Defense, it must allocate resources more efficiently to enhance the quality of public education. Needed improvements include creating and implementing a proper performance management system aimed at retaining the most qualified teachers and releasing the low performers. Moreover, school infrastructure, including buildings, teachingresources,andICTintegration, must become priorities in order to provide children with equal access to learning resources.
  • 8. 12 13 Future Action Advocacy • Push The Government To Allow For New Entrants Into The Telecom Sector • Push The Government To Regulate The Bus Transportation System By Creating A Body Responsible For: - Identifying Minimum Quality Standards For Buses And Issuing Their Licenses - Identifying Bus Routes, Times, And Stops, And Issuing Bids For Private Bus Companies To Provide The Service • Push The Government To Better Regulate The Services Of Taxis, Including Safety Standards And Pricing Strategies (E.g., Installing Taxi Meters) • Push the government towards serious reform of the electricity and water sectors through public-private partnerships • Push for the adoption of a modern performance management system for teachers and improved school infrastructure, including buildings, teaching resources, and ICT integration in all regions of Lebanon • Push for planning and implementation of alternative means of transportation, including a railway system, tramway systems, and water ferries. Advocacy Awareness • Spread awareness on the harmful environmental and health impact of using private vehicles as opposed to alternative means of transportation • Spread awareness on the negative economic, environmental, and health impact of relying on private generators to produce electricity • Spread awareness among citizens on the water supply difference between regions, where some receive water one hour per day while others receive water 24 hours a day. • Spread awareness on the different forms of privatization, considering the advantages and disadvantages of each, with a focus on public-private partnerships Awareness Monitoring &Reporting • Monitor and report on the implementation of existing laws and policies aimed at enhancing market competition and promoting privatization of public infrastructure • Monitor and report on supply and pricing in different regions of: - Government-generated electricity - Private electricity generators - Government-supplied water - Privately supplied water Monitoring &Reporting Capacity Building • Build the capacities of public school teachers by introducing them to new and modern teaching methods • Build the capacities of public sector officials in developing and implementing transparent procurement procedures to ensure the best service providers are selected to implement infrastructure improvements Capacity Building SHORT TO MEDIUM TERM LONG TERM
  • 9. 14 15 CSO initiatives in Lebanon have shown little focus on key issues related to the cost of living, which are viewed as highly economic and political in nature. Problems related to the supply and quality of electricity, water, public transportation, and education have persisted for decades and become part of the Lebanese lifestyle. Citizens have grown accustomed to paying absurd fees for illegal private generators, private water suppliers, and private education. It is up to civil society to lead the way and move citizens out of the current status quo by reminding them that access to electricity, water, and education is a basic human right that should not be controlled by the cartels of influential individuals. As the high cost of living affects every single citizen and household in Lebanon, civil society should not shy away from these issues because they are ultimately controlled by politicians. There is a need to move beyond citizen complaints about the high cost of living and towards concrete measures aimed at spurring government action. The following are suggestions for illustrative activities based on expert roundtables, interviews, and focus groups, which can be adopted by NGOs, CSOs, and CBOs to improve the purchasing power of citizens in Lebanon. Illustrative Activities Illustrative Activities at the National Level: Use multiple media platforms to raise citizen awareness and knowledge of the root causes behind the high cost of living by simplifying complex economic concepts so they can be grasped by most laypersons. Create a non-politicized coalition of national and local CSOs, NGOs, academic and research institutions, and relevant syndicates to pressure the relevant authorities to adopt the policy recommendations in this brief. The coalition should: • Have a clear vision and common understanding of the policy recommendations to advocate • Map and report infrastructure gaps in different regions of Lebanon Develop a coordinated advocacy strategy that includes: > National and customized evidence-based research and content, with support from an academic institution and targeting specific stakeholders > Meetings with decision-makers to place the issue on their agenda > National media campaigns to disseminate advocacy messages Monitor and report on the development and implementation of government policies and plans to ensure measures aimed at improvementofpublicinfrastructure are properly implemented. Periodically evaluate the effectiveness of the policy recommendations and their impact, proposing modifications as necessary with the proper advocacy efforts to push for adoption of the modifications by the relevant authorities. Illustrative Activities at the Local Level: Identify rural areas where there is an urgent need for basic infrastructure, and create in each area a local group to advocate for infrastructure improvements. The local groups should be composed of local NGOs, CSOs, CBOs, municipalities, representatives of the local private sector and the educational sector. The group should receive the necessary support in terms of capacity building and resources to identify its goals, structure, strategies and tactics based on the local infrastructure priorities. The main activities should revolve around: Monitoring and reporting the price and status of privately generated electricity, private and public water supply, public transportation, public education, and the internet censorship policies and practices. Push the relevant central authorities, both ministries and public institutions, to commit to specific infrastructural projects in the local area. Monitor the improvements in infrastructure, including procurement procedures and systems used by the relevant authorities to ensure transparency and accountability. Develop pilot projects at the local level with the support of donor agencies and expatriates targeting: • The establishment of a bus transportation system at the local level (at the level of a municipality or municipality union) regulated by the public sector and operated by the private sector with: > Specific bus routes, stops, and schedules developed based on the need > Safety regulations for the private buses and driver qualifications • The introduction of new educational techniques and technologies at local public schools with the necessary training for the local teachers. • The implementation of effective and innovative projects for the processing and distribution of clean water in a sustainable manner.
  • 10. 16 17 The suggested policy option must be endorsed by key stakeholders and policy- makers to be implemented. The influence that the various stakeholders yield on the decision-making process will determine how they should be engaged and the messages they should receive. Below is a list of stakeholders to be considered. > President of the Republic > Council of Ministers > Higher Council for Privatization > Council for Reconstruction & Development > Ministry of Education & Higher Education > Ministry of Energy & Water > Ministry of Public Works & Transportation > Ministry of Telecommunications > Municipalities > Chamber of Commerce > CAS > EDL > Political parties > Private sector > Syndicates > Media outlets > Voters > Academia & research institutes > NGOs, CSOs, & CBOs Each of these entities requires a different strategy and approach to ally it with the suggested policy. The following table highlights the incentives for the key stakeholders to adopt or support the proposed policy. These incentives can form the basis for developing communication messages to persuade the stakeholders to take action. Stakeholders Incentives Private Sector Improved infrastructure will reduce operational and production costs for businesses. Council of Ministers More foreign investment and economic growth will increase revenue sources for the government while reducing the deficit from EDL. Municipalities Improved infrastructure in rural areas will encourage balanced development across the country, thus benefiting most municipalities. NGOs, CSOs, and CBOs Better infrastructure will improve the quality, supply, and prices of electricity, water, telecommunications, public transportation, and education for citizens. Engaging Different Stakeholders Partial List of References Bank Audi sal. (2012). Lebanon Real Estate Sector. Beirut: Bank Audi sal. CAS. (2004). Living Conditions Survey. Beirut: Central Administration of Statistics. Consultation and Research Institute. (2003). Competition in the Lebanese Economy: A Background Report for a Competition Law for Lebanon . Beirut: Ministry of Economy and Trade. Dagher, L., & Ruble, I. (2011, April 4). Modeling Lebanon’s electricity sector: Alternative scenarios and their implications. Energy 36 , 4315-4326. Dessus, S., & Ghaleb, J. (2006). Trade and Competition Policies for Growth: A General Equilibrium Analysis . World Bank. Dib, Grace. (2010). Agri-Food Trade Service. International Markets Bureau. Directorate General of Land and Maritime Transport. (2007). Public Transport Sector in Lebanon: Seminar on Safe and Sustainable Mobility In Mediterranean Cities. Barcelona: Ministry of Public Works and Transport, Republic of Lebanon. El-Fadel, R., Hammond, G., Harajli, H., Jones, C., Kabakian, V., & Winnett, A. (2009, October 3). The Lebanese electricity system in the context of sustainable development. Energy Policy 38 , 751–761. Hamdan, H., Ghajar, R., & Chedid, R. (2012). A simulation model for reliability-based appraisal of an energy policy: The case of Lebanon . Energy Policy 45 , 293–303. Ministry of Energy and Water. (2012). Decision Number 327. Beirut: The Republic of Lebanon. Oxford Business Group. (2011, November 30). Lebanon: Taxing time for real estate. Economic Update . Shehadi, K. (2010). The Liberalization of Telecommunications in Lebanon. Beirut: Telecommunications Regulatory Authority. The Parliament. (2004). Consumer Protection Law. Beirut: The Lebanese Republic. Turk-Ariss, R. (2010). Cost of Living and Inflation Measurement in Lebanon. Beirut: Lebanese Economic Association. World Bank. (2011). World Databank. Retrieved September 15, 2012, from World Bank: http://databank.worldbank.org/ddp/home.do Yaacoub, N., & Badre, L. (2012). Education in Lebanon. Beirut: Central Administration of Statistics.