Jeddah : Tuesday, September 5, 2006
In response to the grave circumstances faced by the Lebanese people stemming from the brutal Zionist aggression on Lebanon, a joint delegation headed by Dr. Ahmad Mohammad Ali, President of the IDB Group, and Sheikh Saleh Abdullah Kamel, Secretary-General of the Islamic Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI) and Chairman of the General Council of Islamic Banks and Financial Institutions (GCIBFI), has visited Lebanon in a gesture of solidarity with the Lebanese people and Government.

At a press conference held by Dr. Ahmad Mohamed Ali and Sheikh Saleh Abdulla Kamel in Beirut Sunday at the conclusion of their visit, Sheikh Kamel said that the joint delegation discussed with senior Lebanese officials the possible mechanism for contributing to the construction effort with emphasis on the following priorities:

-Providing supplies urgently needed for the civilian victims, including medicines, clothing, food and temporary shelter facilities

-Construction of destroyed houses

-Construction and rehabilitation of damaged public utilities, including power plants and electricity distribution systems, water and sewerage networks, roads, bridges, communication facilities, etc.

-Construction and rehabilitation of small industries, workshops and commercial enterprises.

In this respect, the IDB President Dr. Ahmad Mohamed Ali, declared that the IDB Board of Executive Directors has decided to allocate US$ 250 million to support the efforts of rehabilitating facilities and projects destroyed during the Israeli brutal aggression on Lebanon. He pointed out that this amount includes US$ 5 million as an emergency grant to provide medicines and other essential emergency materials for the affected population, especially children, as well as conduct studies to determine the extent of the damage wrought by the war and the needs of the population. It also includes US$ 30 million in the form of Qard Hassan, in addition to US$ 215 million to finance ordinary operations (Istisna’, Ijara and Installment sale)

Sheikh Saleh Abdullah Kamel said that the program will be implemented in cooperation and coordination between the Lebanese government authorities and the IDB Group, ICCI and GCIBFI. Dr. Ahmad Mohamed Ali will be the Chairman of the program, while he (i.e. Sheikh Kamel) will act as deputy Chairman. He added that this program will provide an opportunity to commercial institutions and businessmen who wish to participate in construction efforts to do so effectively through the various implementation mechanisms of the program. He added that a number of businessmen have already contributed to the program, such as Sheikh Nasser Al Khurrafi (US$ 10 million), Dallah Al Baraka Group (US$ 12 million) and Mr. Naquib Suweires (US$ 5 million).

The Bank’s contribution will be geared towards construction and rehabilitation of destroyed infrastructure facilities, including schools, hospitals, power networks and roads in addition to new public sector projects in coordination with the Lebanese Government.

In conclusion, the IDB President said that the program will seek to spur institutions and individuals in both the Arab and Muslim worlds to participate in construction efforts through three vehicles: the vehicle of multiple reward (donations and grants, the vehicle of qard hassan (interest – free loans) and the vehicle of building for both worlds, the here and the hereafter (investment for little return), in addition to the IDB’s contribution mentioned earlier for financing public sector projects.

The sponsors of the program declared that they also look forward to launching a similar program in support of construction efforts in Palestine as soon as Israel has ceased its brutal military attacks on the Palestinian people