Social Protection Spending in Lebanon: A deep dive into State Financing of Social Protection

To understand how social protection spending and financing is structured in Lebanon and who its main beneficiaries are, this Budget Spending Review on government spending on social protection for 2017-2020 aims to inform an evidence-based policy response. Its findings provide food for thought on how the reallocation of resources in a context of crisis can be more efficient and equitable.

Although Lebanon spends around 13.8 per cent of its GDP and 30 per cent of its public expenditures on social protection, coverage is among the lowest and most inequitable. Understanding how social protection is financed and structured is a prerequisite for designing an adequate and coherent policy response especially in light of recent challenges the country is facing. Moreover, analysing spending and financing trends provides critical information on financing gaps and insights on how restructuring can be less painful and more efficient.

As Lebanon tries to figure out its social response amid rapidly deteriorating macroeconomic and fiscal conditions and disorderly crisis management, the Institut des Finances Basil Fuleihan - Ministry of Finance, in collaboration with Financially Wise, and in partnership with UNICEF and the ILO, conducted a study on “Social Protection Spending in Lebanon: A Deep Dive into State Financing of Social Protection”.

The study analyses, based on the Government of Lebanon State Budget, how social protection services and programs were financed during the period 2017 to 2020. It focuses on spending composition and patterns, beneficiary groups, financing gaps and main sources of funding. The analysis adopts a wide and comprehensive perspective for data collection and analysis that goes, for the first time, beyond the traditional budget classification to account for all categories of social protection spending. The study also proposes a set of recommendations on structural changes needed at the policy and institutional levels to improve both spending inclusiveness and efficiency. By doing so, it hopes to inform the development of a new Social Protection Strategy for Lebanon and the Lebanese people.