Lebanon airport growth sparks transparency considerations

BEIRUT: Civil society organisations and lawmakers in crisis-hit Lebanon have raised considerations over the awarding of a multi-million greenback contract to construct and function a second terminal at Beirut’s worldwide airport.

Money-strapped Lebanon introduced final week that non-public firm Lebanese Air Transport and Irish agency daa Worldwide would associate for the revamp.

Public Works and Transportation Minister Ali Hamieh stated the non-public sector would fund the $122 million challenge, which might “create round 2,500 jobs”.

The companies would function the terminal for a 25-year interval, he added.

However civil society teams and a few lawmakers have decried opacity within the tender course of and a scarcity of involvement of the Public Procurement Authority.

“Marginalising or disregarding” the function of the authority undermines the effectiveness of Lebanon’s 2021 public procurement regulation, 10 civil society teams stated in a press release Tuesday.

Final week the teams, together with Transparency Worldwide Lebanon, warned in a press release of “critical abuses” within the procurement regulation’s utility which “open the door to corruption and nepotism”.

Jean Ellieh, head of the authority, confirmed to AFP on Wednesday that “the contract didn’t go by means of” the regulatory physique because it ought to have in keeping with the 2021 regulation.

Some have additionally questioned how a caretaker authorities with restricted powers might announce such a serious infrastructure challenge, in a rustic the place entrenched political barons are accused of systemic corruption.

Lawmaker Mark Daou argued on Twitter that awarding the contract went past the caretaker authorities’s prerogatives. Different MPs have additionally raised considerations.

The Court docket of Audit is anticipated to rule on the contract’s legality following the outcry.

In late 2019, Lebanon plunged into an financial disaster that the World Financial institution has dubbed one of many planet’s worst in trendy occasions.

Amid persistent political impasse, the nation has been with out a president for nearly 5 months, whereas the federal government has operated in a caretaker capability since Could final yr.

The financial meltdown has pushed many of the inhabitants into poverty whereas the political elite, broadly blamed for the nation’s monetary collapse, has did not take motion.

A visiting Worldwide Financial Fund delegation stated final week that Lebanon was “at a really harmful second”, criticising gradual progress on reforms wanted to unlock billions in emergency loans.