Lebanon’s much-delayed 2022 budget was finally published on Tuesday in the Official Gazette, meaning it is now in effect.
The publication of the budget comes slightly over seven weeks after it was passed by Parliament in September and with only six weeks left in the year for which the budget is valid.
The budget includes current expenses of LL37.71 trillion and capital expenses of LL3.17 trillion for total spending of LL40.87 trillion. Revenues are projected at LL29.99 trillion for a deficit of LL10.89 trillion.
The draft budget presented to Parliament in March 2022 projected expenses of LL47.33 trillion against revenues of LL39.11 trillion, leaving a deficit of LL8.22 trillion. The draft did not include treasury advances to Electricité du Liban, which were estimated at LL5.25 trillion, which would have increased the expected deficit to LL13.47 trillion.
The budget cannot be applied retroactively to the period before it came into force, former Finance Ministry Director General Alain Bifani told L’Orient Today.
Still, the 2022 budget could continue to have an impact on state finances into 2023 via a principle known as the “12-month rule,” which stipulates that for each month of the new year that passes without an updated budget, the government can spend one-twelfth of the annual amount allocated in the last approved budget. This rule would apply until a 2023 budget comes into force.
A ministerial meeting on the 2023 draft budget was held at the end of last month.