Mikati sponsored the inauguration of the Regie’s production line and the launching of “application of barcoded stamps”: a new success of a department that has been able to transform the country’s many challenges into opportunities

26 February 2023

Seklaoui to the defamers: “ending the monopoly leads to the monopoly by smugglers and requests to take possession over the sector deprive the State treasury from incomes


Prime Minister Najib Mikati considered, during the patronage today, Monday, of the inauguration of the Regie new production line at its headquarters in Hadath and the launch of the “barcoded stamp application", that this step is a "new success” for a department that “has been able to transform the country's many challenges into new opportunities”.

During the ceremony, which was attended by the Minister of Finance, Dr. Youssef Al Khalil and the Minister of Industry, George Boushikian, in addition to a representative of the British Embassy, representatives of international tobacco companies, a number of Regie officials and heads of tobacco and Tumbac syndicates in Akkar, South and Bekaa, President Mikati said: “I am pleased to be among you today to witness together a new success of the Regie, and to closely examine the story of a public institution that had been able to reach world level due to the vision of its officials and their wise management. What matters to us is that this story of profitability continues with the alignment between reducing the social costs of smoking and decreasing the health bill by reducing the number of smokers, raising prices to achieve needed resources Tobacco, and limiting the number of consumers”, noting that tobacco “was a sign of globalization, and these harmful behaviors had penetrated people's identities before the World Health Organization's Framework Convention on Tobacco Control”.

He added: “We came to you to acknowledge your efforts in coding your products, due to its implications on tracking tobacco products and preventing counterfeiting and smuggling, in order to preserve the State’s financial resources. We came to say that we, as a country, can manage productive and investment sectors successfully, if officials managed to respond to the requirements of the markets within the mentality of private sector”. The Regie summarizes the story of a state-owned company that has managed to adapt politics and political support not to achieve private interest, but to serve public interest. The Regie has been able to transform the country's many challenges into new opportunities”.

He continued: “Today, the Regie guarantees the stability of farmers in their land in South, Bekaa and North, and supports their production. However, it has become necessary to think about rationalizing this support in order to reach the real farmer and produce a crop with economic value”. We, as a government, must provide the institutional ground for the growth of the productive sectors, and you must complete the path of success to ensure the sustainability of supplying the treasury with revenues while working to reduce the social costs of smoking by increasing prices and reducing the number of smokers through your financial means”.

Mikati said: “We come to you today from an ordinary session of the government, in which we took a series of urgent decisions trying to address the deteriorating financial conditions of employees to ensure the continuity of public utilities and state administrations. We did not take impromptu decisions during the session, rather we asked to postpone some decisions for a short period of time, waiting for accurate number” from the Ministry of Finance and the size of imports.

He continued: “I promise the employees that we will follow up their matters within two weeks in order to take the appropriate decisions, as we cannot offer raises and allowances to one party apart from another, nor to give productivity allowances while neglecting retired soldiers and others. We are hoping and determined to succeed in overcoming these difficult circumstances that we are going through, and relieving people's pains and concerns. However, it definitely needs everyone's cooperation to move forward together toward the required reforms, which opens up new opportunities for support and aid that we desperately need to overcome the current difficult condition.

The Prime Minister concluded: “lastly, I say, the country must remain our cause. The successes are nothing but gleams to benefit from amid this collapse and darkness. We must not surrender, and we will not surrender, if God willing, and we will complete the task required of us. Peace be with you”.

Seklaoui: our benefits for 2022 will exceed L.L. 1.350 billion

After showing a segment about the Regie’s achievements entitled “From Lebanon to the World”, the Regie’s President and Director General Eng. Nassif Seklaoui, welcomed President Mikati, who is “the first Lebanese prime minister to be a guest at the Regie,” and said: “he wouldn’t have carried the ball of fire and undertaken the great national responsibilities under the current difficult circumstances, had it not been for his faith in Lebanon. His presence in the ceremony despite the pressing duties and the critical situation in the country, shows his support and care for the success of a national institutions”.

Addressing President Mikati, he said: “Your visit is an honor for us, an enrichment for this institution and its journey, and a strengthening support that will increase our keenness to work and keep giving for the good of Lebanon.” He praised the fruitful cooperation with the Ministry of Finance, represented by the Minister of Finance, Dr. Youssef Al Khalil, who always demonstrates keenness to adopt the Regie’s projects and initiatives and to ensure the continuity of its work in all circumstances”.

He added: “who says that public utilities cannot succeed? We at the Regie have undertaken to prove the opposite on every occasion. Since taking office in this institution, we have undertaken to walk the path of continuous development, and we have determined to make this institution an effective model for public utilities, so our journey has been a journey of continuous success”.

Seklaoui attributed this to “several reasons”, the first of which is “the Regie's relationship with the private sector, which had never been competitive, but rather based on the concept of partnership, entrusting to it some of its activities, such as managing hospitalization, informatics, transportation, security, technical support, among others”. He explained that the other

reasons are “the Regie's homogeneous, devoted, responsible, committed, and effective work team, starting from the Board of Directors all the way to the executive departments, and the competencies that it has worked on developing administratively and technically in order to promote its family towards excellence and professionalism through training and continuous capabilities empowerment. Lately it has honored under the patronage and in the presence of the Minister of Finance 35 employees who had achieved specializing certificates from the most prominent American, European, and Lebanese universities”.

He also underlined the “spirit of national belonging” that the Regie’s administration had fostered “to cross sectarian and political conflicts”, and the “societal responsibility, translated through the implementation of a sustainable development strategy in which it seeks to humanize its work through the development of tobacco-growing villages. The Regie has implemented through the municipalities, more than 248 development projects in Akkar, South, and Bekaa Valley funded before 2019,” including, few days ago the opening of “a social hall in Zouk Al Hussniah in Akkar,” provided that “another hall will be inaugurated within a month in Mar Touma, also in Akkar”.

Seklaoui reiterated his call to “amend Article 32 of the 2020 Budget Law, so that public administrations with financial income are again allowed to allocate a small part of their profits to support local development projects”. He said: "is it possible to compare purposive projects of social and economic benefit to those that support fake associations?”

He explained that the ceremony comes “to celebrate two new achievements added to the record of this national facility; one of which is the launch of a new production line to be added to the Regie’s existing 13 lines, to manufacture the brands of the international Von Eicken company, with Italian packaging equipment and German rolling machines and a production capacity of eight thousand cigarettes per minute”.

He said: “currently, we produce 62 international and national cigarette brands in Hadath, and three varieties of molasses with 26 flavors in Batroun department. A new production line will be installed during next April, bringing the number of production lines to 15”.

He announced that the second goal of the ceremony “is to launch the barcoded stamp in a pioneer step that falls within the strategy of fighting smuggling in line with international practices with regard to the World Health Organization's protocol of combating illegal tobacco trade. The step is a continuation of the first national conference of fighting illegal trade organized by the Regie in 2018”.

In this context, he recalled: “the Regie's anti-smuggling body is achieving continuous successes”, noting that the Regie has submitted “a request to the Minister of Defense and the Army Commander to enhance the role of this body through reinforcement from the Lebanese army”. He said: “The Regie's adoption of a commercial formula for selling tobacco products takes into account an average rate dollar exchange rate, which has an effective impact in reducing the smuggling. On the agricultural level, the Regie continues to support 25,000 Lebanese farmers by purchasing their crops in cash dollars, in a step that aims to support them and their return to agriculture.”

Seklaoui added: “we review our achievements before you, not out of arrogance, but rather out of affirmation that state facilities can be a pillar of the national economy if there is will and care.

He stressed that "the Regie has succeeded in being one of the most prominent institutions that support the state financially and economically, for better and for worse, and the best proof are the numbers and business results”.

He said: “although the results of 2022 business are usually issued during March, indications show that the Regie's profits for 2022 will exceed 1,350 billion LBP”.

He added: “for defamers naively coming out in every bright occasion in our record calling for the abolition of the monopoly, we say: away from your personal goals, the worst disaster is the one that brings laughter. By demanding to end monopoly you promote the monopoly of smugglers. By calling to seize this productive sector, you deprive the State treasury from its revenues. By attacking the Regie, you abolish the safety network for farmers. Beware of what you call for”.

He responded to those “lengthily calling to manufacturing molasses using the Lebanese tobacco”, pointing out that “the oriental tobacco and the Lebanese tombac, in particular, do not enter into the process of molasses production”, considering that “it might be more useful for such people not to tackle topics they are not aware of”.

He concluded by addressing Mikati: “we appreciate your visit as the first Lebanese prime minister to be the guest of the Regie to participate in and witness the realization of its achievements. We value your confidence in our vision and our will to achieve the best for Lebanon's economy and the national industry”.

At the end of the ceremony, Seklaoui offered President Mikati an honorary shield and a painting of tobacco cultivation from the photographs that had participated in "Manshar Souwar" competition. Then they toured the Regie.


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