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January 01, 1996 | Arabic | Dr. Najib Issa
The Labor Market and Labor Policy in Lebanon - The Lebanese Economic Tribune (LET)

The study consisted of five main axis:
First Axis: The first axis shows how the pattern of economic growth which was based on services and the absence of an employment policy before the war in Lebanon, led to a flaw in the labor market. This flaw is represented by the decrease of rates of economic activity, the increase in unemployment, immigration, and the flow of foreign labor into Lebanon.
Second Axis: In light of the available statistical data, the second axis analyzed the development of the labor market and the conditions of the labor force in the seventies and eighties as compared to its size, the rates of economic activity and its demographic, economic, educational and social characteristics.
Third Axis: The third axis revolved around the problems which the work force is currently facing. The two main problems were the increase in unemployment, especially among youth who hold university degrees, and declining productivity. In his study, Dr. Issa stated that the reasons and factors which work at aggravating these problems included:
  The deterioration of the productive sectors which create job opportunities.
  The inadequacy of the educational system which does not provide sufficient attention to vocational and technical education.
  The uncontrolled influx of foreign laborers into the country.
  The use of out-dated technology
  The decline in wages
  The absence of an incentive system to encourage productivity
  The inefficiency of the legislative, managerial, and institutional structures in which the labor force works.
Fourth Axis: The fourth axis centered around the role of employment within the government's current labor policy. It was observed that the economic recovery plan, in all its forms, does not provide the work force and the labor market with considerable attention and does not come close to solving the problems of the work force. It was also evident that the measures adopted outside the reconstruction plan are inadequate as regards labor. Rather many of the currently implemented policies to achieve monetary and financial stability such as the current fiscal policy and the fixed interest rates on the treasury bonds, might negatively affect the conditions of the work force.
Fifth Axis: The fifth and last axis was devoted to the conceptualization of a general framework which guarantees solutions and offers practical suggestions and recommendations for the development of an efficient policy of labor . It concluded that the labor issue in Lebanon is not merely a sectorial one but rather entails the future of the Lebanese economy itself. Therefore it should be dealt with as an integral part of the economic revival effort in the context of a comprehensive and integrated economic and social plan that works in two directions: the first is the development of economic sectors which create job opportunities; this should be based on a clear futuristic and strategic vision of the economic role of Lebanon in the region. The second aims to develop human resources by solving other problems of the work force. In this respect the following suggestions and recommendations were made in the study:
1. Concentrate on establishing small and medium-size projects that create job opportunities and make use of new technologies. However, if investment in these projects is the responsibility of the private sector, the government must take on a regulatory role in order to create the suitable environment and conditions that would enable the private sector to accomplish this task. In this regard, the government's task is not solely restricted to building infrastructure and ensuring monetary and financial stability, but also to offer a wide range of incentives, aids, and services that range from facilitating funding, access to markets, and access to up-to-date technology. In addition, the government has the responsibility of reducing taxation and social burdens, rehabilitating and training the work force, offering the training of management in private business, and preparing feasibility and consultative studies.
2. Reform of the educational system to ensure that basic education is attained by all citizens.
3. Strengthen and improve as well as increase the number of vocational and training institutions which respond to the needs of the labor market both now and in the future. However this task should be based on the studies that would survey these needs.
4. Improve the living standards of the work force by controlling inflation and providing basic social needs such as education, health care, housing, transport ... etc.
5. Organize and control the flow of foreign labor in order to prevent competition and protect domestic labor.
6. Protect workers' rights by modernizing and updating labor laws.
7. Enhance the activities of the labor unions.
8. Adopt a strategy of "planning the labor force". This will require the formation of a data base, and the development of an institutional framework with the qualified personnel to perform and carry out the task.

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