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December 23, 2019
The Government Monitor No. 10 - What Have Lebanese Ministries Done?


What’s the Issue at Hand?
During the 9-month tenure of the Hariri-led government, 1,771 laws, decrees, and ministerial decisions were passed. These legislations were largely administrative in nature (86%), with few regulatory measures (9%) and international agreements (5%).1
 
There is an evident discrepancy when looking closely at the legislative output across different ministries. Indeed, out of the 28 ministries, three—Interior and Municipalities, Finance, and Defense—issued 1,221 of the legislative texts (69%). The remaining 521 texts (31%) were issued by 17 ministries: Foreign Affairs and Emigrants, Economy and Trade, Youth and Sports, Justice, Education and Higher Education, Agriculture, Public Health, Public Works and Transport, Energy and Water, Telecommunications, Tourism, Environment, Information, Industry, Social Affairs, Labor, and Culture. The Ministry of the Displaced Affairs and all seven state ministries—Parliamentary Affairs, Economic Empowerment of Women and Youth, Information Technology and Investment, Administrative Reform (OMSAR), Refugee Affairs, Presidential Affairs, and Foreign Trade—which had a combined budget of LBP 45 billion, made no legislative contribution. Moreover, none of the state ministries—except for OMSAR—proposed any measures to be discussed in the ministerial agenda.

Even though the Ministry of Interior and Municipalities (MoIM) and the Ministry of Defense (MoD) produced the largest amount of legislative texts, these were largely administrative (96% and 92% respectively). On the other hand, the Ministry of Finance (MoF) issued the highest share of regulatory measures—50% of the total passed.
 
  • For MoIM, 343 legislations were naturalization requests (46%), 146 were license issuances (19%), and 86 were approvals for acquiring foreign citizenships (8%).
  • Of the texts signed by MoD, 141 were license issuances (50%), mainly for hunting weapons, and 105 (37%) were related to domestic in-kind contributions to the Lebanese army, such as bulldozers, medication, and installations, amounting to LBP 19 billion. Moreover, 20 international agreements related to foreign aid (7%) were signed with entities—such as UN agencies, the Mines Advisory Group, an American training team, Privinvest, and embassies—to support the Lebanese army.
  • Although MoF has signed on 80 regulatory measures, most of them were related to tax exemptions and postponements of tax submission deadlines. Other measures include a labor policy to increase minimum wage; a housing policy dealing with tenant assistance; and a commerce policy outlying offshore companies’ regulations.
 
The 17 ministries, whose combined output was less than a third of the passed legislations, requested LBP 67 billion from the budget reserve. This represents 80% of the reserves requested by ministries. Here are some examples:
 
  • The Ministry of Environment requested on 21 October LBP 1.5 billion to conduct training courses and awareness campaigns to promote recycling.
  • The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Emigrants requested on 16 July nearly LBP 11 billion to purchase offices in New York City for Lebanon’s delegation to the United Nations.
  • The Ministry of Economy and Trade requested on 30 July LBP 7.5 billion to settle expenses such as advertisements and consumable services to attend Dubai’s 2020 Expo.
 
Why is this Important?
Throughout the Lebanese government’s tenure, a significant number of legislations that seem to have no bearing on the country’s mounting challenges were passed. In fact, other than an overdue national budget and an electricity plan that has yet to be implemented, no reform measure materialized during those nine months.
 
Background
Despite the worsening economic situation, the Hariri-led cabinet failed to implement a reform program that responds to people’s concerns, resulting in its resignation in the midst of ongoing mass protests. With the conclusion of the parliamentary consultations and the appointment of a new prime minister, the country now awaits the formation of a new cabinet.
 
 
 
 
1 The Government Monitor No. 7. 15 November 2019. 'Lebanese Government: A Dismal Performance. Lebanese Center for Policy Studies.






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