Clarification from the Ministry of Economy and Trade regarding Lebanon's participation in Dubai exhibition 2020
A prominent female activist touched, during a televised interview, upon Lebanon participation in Expo 2020 Dubai considering it one of the “corruption issues” as well as the role of the Ministry of Economy and Trade in this regard.
The way the issue was dealt with made it sound like an administrative or financial corruption regarding Lebanon’s participation in Expo 2020 Dubai. Therefore, in reference to the information that revealed to be irrelevant to Expo 2020 Dubai in addition to the difference between it and the other exhibitions and the importance of Lebanon’s participation, the Ministry of Economy and Trade would like to clarify the following:
- The activist declared that the government implementing austerity measures spends 5 million US dollars on Expo 2020 Dubai adding that these expenditures are incurred for the participation and not for organizing an exhibition.
In this regard, we would like to clarify that the Lebanese participation in this expo encompasses the expo construction as well as other main issues summarized as follows:
- Construct a Lebanese pavilion on a plot area of 1550 m2 with a net construction area of 950 m2 and a height of maximum 15 meters and a maximum internal construction of 2550 m2.
- Develop the theme of the Lebanon’s pavilion according to the title of Expo 2020 Dubai.
- Equip the pavilion and perform all decoration while providing all audio – visual equipments and furnitures; thus, assuring an exceptional experience for the visitors of the Lebanese pavilion in order to get to know Lebanon and provide a civilized image.
- Provide human resources administration in addition to the salaries of workers in the Lebanese pavilion and assure their accommodation fares for six months which is the expo period.
- Organize and perform all kinds of artistic, economic, cultural and commercial activities during the expo period (6 months).
- Dismantle the Lebanese pavilion and return the land back at the end of the expo to what it was.
- The cost of the above mentioned project exceeds 5 million US dollars while other countries spend millions of dollars for their participation. It is to mention that the participation costs for some countries reached hundred million dollars.
- Expo 2020 Dubai is considered among the international exhibitions organized every 5 years by the “International Exhibitions Bureau” since 1851 each time in a diffirent country. It also welcomes more than 20 million visitors while sometimes the number exceeds 75 million visitors. Dubai was alected this time for the 2020 edition and it is the first time this event is held in an Arabic country. It is to mention that the Lebanese Republic received a direct invitation from Prince of Dubai to participate in the event.
- Lebanon’ participation in Expo 2020 Dubai remains the authority of the Ministry of Economy and Trade. The Council of Ministers had jointly delegated the Ministry to organize the participation pursuant to many decisions taken in this regard. To this end, an amount of 5 US million dollars was allocated; provided that the Ministry shall supply the remaining amount from the private sector.
- Ministry of Economy and Trade fully complied with due process of law in order to approach the issue, whether regarding the elaboration of a clear booklet of terms or whether allowing all Lebanese companies to participate in the event through open tendering by the intermediate of the Department of Tenders exclusively and without any direct intervention from it. For this purpose, the Department of Tenders established two committees, administrative and technical ones, both enjoying an independent entity from the Ministry of Economy and Trade and the Department of Tenders. Moreover, each of the two committees is completely independent one of another in order to assure highest levels of transparency, equality and competition.
- The tender was repeated before the Department of tenders for three consecutive times given the the non-applicability of the legal texts of bids submitted during the two sessions; the thing that enables the Ministry, in this case, to conclude a contract by mutual consent. However, the Ministry refused to sign this consensual agreement and insisted to open a public tendering at the Department of Tenders whereof the tender was awarded to one of the Lebanese bidder companies, for the third time in early October.
- Due to the government’ resignation and regarding the country’s current circumstances at all levels, the Ministry of Economy and Trade decided to wait and hold on. To this end, the Ministry decided to assess the project’ implementation process according to the situations, the new government opinion and the Expo 2020 Dubai Management concerning the feasibility of the project in this short time in order to inaugurate the exhibition in October 2020.
Consequently, the Ministry did not sign any agreement nor it paid any amount regarding Expo 2020 Dubai. In addition, the Ministry did not incur on the treasury any burdens or obligations in this regard.
Showing its support to the rightful cases and exerting efforts to fight corruption, the Ministry of Economy and Trade totally refuse to throw accusations around without any efforts or without verifying its authenticity. Unfortunately, these false stands and accusations will surely aggravate the crisis of trust and confidence between Public institutions and the people; hence, both the defenders of public money and transparent employees will be equivalent to those accused of corruption.
It is to mention that these accusations will definitely bounce back to the accusers who are continuously trying to achieve imaginary heroism and make use of a rightful popular movement.
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