During a news conference on Wednesday, Member of Parliament Jamil al-Sayyed announced that Lebanon could make $500 million by reclaiming unlicensed properties from the Lebanese coast.
According to Lebanese law, properties along the coast fall into the category of public property, and owners of resorts built on this property must pay the government a fine as a result.
The law states that any area below the hitting point of the highest wave in winter, or any rocky or sandy area along the coast, falls into this public property category.
Yet, the MP estimates that only about half of these resort owners have duly paid the fines they owe. Collectively, the licensed and unlicensed properties along the coast comprise an area of approximately 5.5 million square meters.
As a result, Al-Sayyed has called upon the Lebanese Government to reclaim these properties, which he says were greatly appropriated during the Civil War from 1975 to 1990.
By reclaiming the properties, MP Al-Sayyed said that the government could be bringing in a great deal of revenue, based on the number of properties and land value.
To give an idea, the government has estimated that Naqoura coastal land, for instance, is worth about $400 per square meter, while those currently with licenses are allowed to build resorts at $2 per square meter along the coastal area.
With last year's 2018 governmental budget, revenues were estimated at around L.L. 254 billion, but no revenue was made according to Jawad Adra, founder and managing partner of Information International.
Al-Sayyed stated in the news conference that the government should be held accountable for the recent economic crisis and non-transparency in government revenues and that no one in the government before had fully settled this issue of coastal property.
With the recent meetings by Parliament to discuss the state budget and deficit, this could be another solution to help create a healthy Lebanese economy and ease some of the financial pressure with impact on the citizens. What will come out of al-Sayyed's press conference remains to be seen.